The way how we deal with the problem of street children in Rwanda can be best summarized as an interpersonal approach. Above all, we try to spend as much time as possible with our children and their parents. We visit children both in families and in schools and we also welcome them at our Children’s Center six days a week where we connect them amongst one another.
Our interpersonal approach enables us to track the change, the transformation of a child. An essential keyword in this context is attention; for, in the beginning, we started just to give close attention to our children. Though it was clear that we would keep learning more in the overall context of our approach, we already knew that this loving care should always be involved in it.
On that basis, it seems logical that our volunteers started to visit our children’s homes and their classes in the following. On top of that, we established curriculums that touch a child’s character as well as his or her learning process and family background. In our daily work, we meet our children and talk to them as well as to their parents. Thus, we try to connect with them and to understand their current situation, their feelings, their struggles.
Our approach is not about providing children with a lot – like many other organizations might already do – but helping them to change their perspective on life. That’s why we also teach them that the long-term way forward in one’s life is rather not about being provided, but about building oneself. In order to support our children during this process, we have all these different offers regarding the development of their talents and thereby also of their confidence.
We try to help a child develop self-esteem and build his or her character; for we expect this approach to afford him- or herself a positive impact on the ability to live with what there is and to face future challenges – with dignity and the belief to become successful in life.
Considering our generally limited resources, the main reason why it was possible to sustain Root Foundation for six years also lies in this perception: What our children expect from us is not being provided with a lot, but is being built in character and confidence which does not cost money, but takes time and requires attention.