News from New Hope Centre
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from the children and staff at New Hope Center in Nyamata, Rwanda. As most around the world, they have been greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Our children in primary school secondary school, as well as those in university, started 2020 with great anticipation. This came an abrupt end on March 21st, when Rwanda became the first country in Africa to impose a lockdown and shut down all schools, universities and ordered all to remain in their homes except for medical emergencies or shopping. All borders were sealed as well as air travel.
This meant our children were forced to abandon their studies just 2 months into the first semester. It was thought to be a temporary measure for 2 weeks, and the children were anticipating resuming their studies after Easter. Subsequently, the Ministry of Education decided to abandon the current school year, opting to start fresh in September.
This is a major change as Rwanda had followed an East African timetable, with school normally beginning in mid-January and finishing in mid-November. Needless to say, our children are extremely disappointed, as they will have lost this year and will have to restart from the beginning in September.
This lockdown presented some further challenges. Our 11 University students were now stuck in Kigali and could not return to our Center, as well as 6 other children who had gone to Kigali to visit some relatives. All public transport was suspended, and people were not allowed to travel out of their immediate neighborhood.
All the children are healthy and despite the limited opportunities, have kept themselves busy with reading, singing (of course) and activities in their compound. With the many challenges these children have had to face over the past 16 years, this is but a small challenge. They are anticipating getting back to their studies in September.
One of our longest serving “mamas” Kwizera, was due to get married to Samuel on May 23rd but due to the lockdown, and all such celebrations being cancelled, they now have to wait until the restrictions are eased which we are hoping will be before the end of June. The children are excited about the wedding and have been planning special music for the event.
They also were able (from afar) to celebrate the marriage of Esther who married one of our first children in New Hope (Jeune) who had migrated to America about 10 years ago.
Pastor Ruben (Papa Bea) has faithfully been with children during this challenging time. He truly is a papa, pastor, daddy, mentor, and strength to our children. He will continue to be with the children until borders open, restrictions are eased, and he can go to Nairobi to visit his family.
Three of our children who have been in refugee camps in Burundi awaiting migration with extended family are now returning to Bujumbura. All migration has been brought to a standstill due to COVID19, and rather than sit waiting in a camp, we have agreed, in conjunction with King’s School, to receive these three to continue their studies.
Their names are Moise, Steve (twins) and Rene. The twins have been in the camp at Ruyigi in eastern Burundi, and Rene has been in a camp in northern Burundi. We appreciate prayers for these three as they transition back into English studies and also for their education financial support.
On behalf of the children, I want to extend a huge “Thank you, Warakozi, Asante Sana, and Merci” for your continued support and prayers for our children.