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|Thanks to your donations we feed as many as 567 hungry mouths!|
All of our projects are funded by your donations. And the projects are many, as we work and build and constantly get new and fresh ideas about other ways to make our village children's lives less hard and more bearable.
Of course – I have been saying this for years now so even the birds on the trees know the tune – the only sure and long-term way of helping the children and the youth in these parts is to provide them with education so that they can help themselves in the future. We train them in a given trade and by doing so we make it easier for them to find employment and thus put permanent bread in their hands. Everything else is just a one-time relief. Although any kind of help is great and more than welcome, providing education is nonetheless the best way to go with these young people. It gives them what every child in this world deserves, and that is education, learning, preparing for life. The young women and men leave our secondary schools better prepared for the struggle with the hardships of everyday life. They have learned a trade and they know how to work, which all opens up possibilities for employment and a better tomorrow. From now on it is up to them to build their futures.
But you cannot really learn if you have an empty stomach. Students coming to school hungry lack interest in anything. And hunger also leads to a weaker immune system and disease. Many families in rural parts of Rwanda, including our village of Kivumu, can afford a warm meal only three, maybe four times a week.
Several years ago we decided to try to provide a warm mid-day meal for our Padri Vjeko VTC students every day. And it was a huge success! Today we have now have two schools operating in our center – a Vocational Trade School and a Senior Secondary School – attended by as many as 467 students. For all of them we prepare a warm meal every single day. Our students’ bellies are full, and they are pleased and happy!
Many of these students, whose parents and grandparents were unable to access education, did not want to come to school because they thought of it as a waste of time. They preferred going out to work for a wage, returning after a 12-hour day of hard work with just a dollar in their pockets. Now, even these children regularly attend our schools. At first they came because of the meal, but with time they realized that the lessons they attended to get the meal at the end of the day would one day put permanent bread in their hands.
Every day, thanks to your donations, we prepare meals for our 467 students. Every day 467 young women and men receive a plateful of beans, rice and vegetables with a huge smile of gratitude on their face. And they go home with their bellies full at the end of the day. All thanks to you!
In the vicinity of our Padri Vjeko Center there is also a primary school with as many as 1,600 schoolchildren. The primary school is not a part of our Center, because primary schools in Rwanda are all government supported schools, but we enjoy wonderful cooperation with them and so, just a few years ago when they were in dire need, and again with your help, we built several new classrooms for this school.
The principal of the primary school has recently decided to institute warm meals in her school too so that the children would go home with their bellies full at the end of the school day. And since this is a government-owned school, there was no funding allotted for a project of this kind. This means the children will have to pay for their own meals if they want to eat. The school meal costs 4,000 Rwandan Francs per child per month, which is around 4.70 Euros or 5.40 USD. Unfortunately, only about forty parents were able to afford this for their children. The rest of the schoolchildren will continue going home after school with empty bellies. And many of these children don’t even get a warm meal at their homes every day.
Friends of ours who came to visit us in Kivumu from Croatia were concerned about this. You will know them from other news articles – Maja and Zeljko from Croatia. These friends wrote a letter and mailed it to their friends’ addresses, inviting them to forward the letter to other friends.
In their letter they suggested that money be raised to pay for meals for the poorest of these primary schoolchildren. Today, to the great joy of Maja and Zeljko, and again with your help of donations, there are warm meals for one hundred of the poorest schoolchildren! And if finances (donations that is to say) permit, that number to provide meals for even more children will increase.
This is truly a great thing, because we are now able to say that as 567 hungry mouths are being fed every day! And it would not be possible if it wasn’t for so many of you who have been helping us through the 'Heart for Africa' charity set up by Maja and Zeljko. Thank you, good people! Every day you bring smiles to 567 young faces. And that is truly priceless!
Translated by Branimir Mlakić