Today was an incredible day as we had the privilege of meeting the graduates whose education so many of you have generously sponsored. It was a heartwarming experience to see the impact of your support in person. They expressed their gratitude to us, and by extension, to all of you, which truly made our day.
Listening to their stories and getting to know each of these remarkable individuals was incredibly powerful. We had the opportunity to capture their testimonials, and we'll be sharing them with you soon, so please keep an eye on our newsletter to ensure you don't miss out!
As we settled into the classroom where we would be teaching, we couldn't help but notice a crowd of children and adults gathering outside the door. Curiosity piqued, and as I made my way to the door to my surprise, more families were streaming into the school premises. Paterne, our dedicated team member, gathered them into a circle and had a talk with them.
I approached Brigitte to understand the situation, and she explained that they had heard about our visit and were eager to have their children join GIFTS Rwanda's program. Paterne assured them that our presence wouldn't change the process. The process entails them adding their children's names to a list, which Paterne, Brigitte, and Pastor Faustin Ruhirwa (who oversees the school and church) review together. Then, they carefully select the children with the most pressing needs. It was heartening to witness how Paterne and Brigitte skillfully managed the situation, ensuring that your generous donations are used to effect the most meaningful change possible.
Once Paterne concluded his discussion with the community members, we emerged from the classroom with the graduates and kicked off the day with some delightful games. We played a few Rwandan games before they eagerly requested Karina and me to introduce them to an American game. Our choice: Red Light Green Light, and it turned out to be an absolute riot. You can enjoy the videos below!
After the games, we returned to the classroom and distributed more Ridges Fun Run shirts. They loved them and immediately put them on! Karina and I then addressed them on topics vital to young adult health, including menstruation and pregnancy prevention. The highlight of the session was Paterne stepping up like a rock star to demonstrate the correct way to put a condom on a water bottle. His explanations were exceptional, and the students were fully engaged in the conversation.
We wrapped up the talk by sitting down with the students, where they shared their life stories, dreams, and needs. Their openness and courage in talking to us were truly remarkable, and we made sure to express our deep appreciation for being in partnership with them and for the opportunity to spend time getting to know each of them.
To conclude the day, we all gathered in the courtyard for a group picture, and each graduate graciously shared their testimonials with me, which I will be sharing soon. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter by emailing HERE so you can be among the first to hear their inspiring stories!
During our conversations, the graduates expressed their dreams of attending university or vocational school. Unfortunately, this endeavor is costly, and many of them are facing challenges finding employment. They inquired if GIFTS Rwanda could offer any assistance, and I assured them that I would bring their requests to our board. It costs approximately $1200 a year here to attend university.
Before bidding them farewell, we brought them back into the classroom and surprised them with donut cakes, Fanta, balls, and some small toys for their younger siblings. They were so excited to share their gifts with their families!
Thank you all for making days like today possible. Your generosity and support are changing lives and creating brighter futures. We can't wait to share more stories and updates with you, so stay tuned! Together, we are making a real difference.