Changing Our World
Edited by Zachary D. Kaufman
Chapter 6: Transformation through education: Generation Rwanda and access to higher education for Rwanda's orphans and vulnerable youth
6. Transformation through education: Generation Rwanda and access to higher education for Rwanda’s orphans and vulnerable youth Dai Ellis, Jamie Hodari, and Oliver Rothschild BACKGROUND Two of us, Ellis and Rothschild, met in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, in 2004. We were both working with U.S.-based NGOs, advising the Rwandan Ministry of Health as it launched Rwanda’s first comprehensive national HIV/AIDS program. While we spent most of our time developing policy in Government of Rwanda (GoR) offices, we did our best to get into the field to meet people affected by HIV and AIDS. In a village called Kimisange, just outside Kigali, we came across an orphanage, Village de la Paix (Village of Peace), which was home to more than 70 children who had lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. The orphanage had enough funding to feed, clothe, and house all of the children, yet it operated without electricity and running water despite being located within a few hundred yards of the municipal access point to the electricity grid and water system. We decided to organize a modest fundraising drive among our friends and family in the U.S. to ameliorate this problem. In 2004, our reaction to the orphanage’s predicament set in motion a series of events that produced the organization that is now Generation Rwanda (GR) (known until 2010 as Orphans of Rwanda). We learned two key lessons from these early efforts to help solve specific problems that orphanages lacked the funds to address. First, donors in the U.S. were...
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