Rwandan newspaper The New Times (Kigali) wrote the following article chronicling the
country's decision to empty all their orphanages and place children into
families. The article features Mary Kamanzi, who heads up the Orphan Care
efforts for the PEACE Plan in Rwanda. Read the full article
online or check out the except below:
on a visit to Nyungwe National Park, I found a group of children milling along
the road. Some appeared as if they were playing while waiting for their parents
tilling a nearby garden. But the children, the oldest being about six, were on
a mission to beg.
confirmed this when Darmascene Byukusenge paused to ask: "Wampaye ijana
nkagurira umwana irindazi," (Please, give me Rwf100 so I can buy my
younger brother a cake.)
and his brother are not alone in destitute life and it is their plight that the
government is addressing through on-going efforts to reform child care policies
and programme in the country.
the new reforms, the government is refocusing the system by transforming
Rwanda's current child care and protection into family-based system. The aim is
to support vulnerable families to remain together and promote positive Rwandan
social values that encourage all Rwandans and their communities to take care of
vulnerable children, through fostering or adoption.
reform also states that children living in institutions should be integrated
into foster families or alternative family-based care systems as opposed to
Nyiramatama, the executive secretary of the National Commission for Children
(NCC), says child care reforms are not only meant to encourage fostering and
adopting in Rwandan society but also to emphasize "Rwandan identity in
these unlucky children and break adverse stronghold in their lives."
added that children not only need material care but psychological care that she
describes as software-care. It is this type of care that enables them to grow
well and become responsible citizens.
a child to become a responsible citizen, they need software-care much more than
hardware-care. Food, clothing and shelter are good for a child but beyond that
(is the need for) affection and sense of belonging that determine a child's
character and personality. This is what every child needs and it's hard to find
affection in an orphanage," she added.
National Population Office estimates that pregnancies as consequences of sexual
abuse during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi resulted in the birth of
children who bring back bad memories. There is also a problem of abandoned
children due to mass displacements during the same period - all resulting in
over 3,000 of unwanted and abandoned children. The
main challenge therefore remains rebuilding lives of these children and
providing them with good health facilities.
to Nyiramatama, over 1,000 children have since been integrated into family life.
Able families are being encouraged to embrace adoption and fostering policy to
give vulnerable children a chance to grow up in family life.
church has bought into the idea and has come out to promote the new policy as
it starts to see family care as a right to life; suggesting that every child
should belong to a family not an orphanage.
May 2013, the ministry of gender and family promotion in conjunction with Peace
Plan Rwanda - an umbrella organisation that brings together all religious leaders
- organised a consultative meeting to discuss the draft family policy.
religious leaders called for stronger families with good moral values as the
best environment for children to grow in. The emphasis was to promote child
care reform by encouraging Christian families to adopt or foster street
children or those from orphanages.
to Mary Kamanzi, the director of family and child care unit in Peace Plan
Rwanda, this policy is aimed at preventing future child neglect and design
appropriate preventive mechanisms for teenage pregnancies and other resultant
Peace Plan Rwanda, we are committed to supporting and helping these children to
grow well - psychologically, physically and emotionally. We hope that
encouraging Christians to adopt or foster orphans will give these unlucky
children a taste of home and a sense of family-belonging," Kamanzi said.
You can be a part of
helping local churches get children in Rwanda get out of orphanages and into
families on an Orphan Care PEACE trip. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more
Did you know that for $38 a month, you can change a child’s
program provides hope for children in orphanages by
sponsoring families who need a bit of financial support to bring a child into
their home. When orphans gain a family they become permanent sons and
Listen here to Kay Warren’s message on how you can get
Hi I’m Kay Warren. I’d
like to tell you about a new kind of child sponsorship. Children need the love
of a family, which is why we’re working in Rwanda to help them empty all their
orphanages and place those children into permanent caring families.
Of the 3000 children
in orphanages, 1200 now have families to call their own. There’s still more to
be done. You can help empty orphanages by sponsoring a family in Rwanda,
helping a child reunite with or regain a family.
Sponsorship helps a
family provide school feels, food, clothes, and health insurance for the child.
You can learn more at saddleback.com/sponsorship. When you sponsor you are
helping an orphan become a son or a daughter again.
To begin sponsoring a
family in Rwanda visit
Mike and Brenda Crary are ordinary Saddleback Church members
who responded to Pastor Rick’s challenge to step out in faith by going on an
Orphan Care trip to Rwanda in the summer of 2014. They decided to bring their
entire family, and together through Saddleback’s Orphan Care Initiative they
learned how to help equip local churches to empty orphanages. They thought they
knew what was in store for them, but as often happens on a PEACE trip, God used
them in a way they never expected.
As part of their home visits made with local church members,
Mike and Brenda stopped by to check in on a family prior to their reunification
with their 17-year-old daughter. This family had placed their daughter in the
orphanage long ago thinking it would be the best place for her. It wasn’t until
they heard from their local church about the harm caused by institutional care
that they decided to reunite.
The mother, Mama Evette, was tending to newborn twins as she
waited with anticipation for her daughter to return home from the orphanage for
good. As the Crarys held the newborns and chatted with the family, they learned
that Mama Evette was a genocide survivor who had given her life to Christ at a
local church sometime after the genocide. Soon after, she married her
ex-boyfriend when he gave his life to Christ. They had recently had the twins
whom the Crarys were now admiring.
Noticing the babies’ strong startle response, Mike shared
how all babies have the inborn reflex to raise their hands when they feel the
sensation of falling. Mama Evette was astounded. She told the Crarys how she
had been praying about this behavior and was deeply worried her babies were
experiencing demonic attack. Friends had even visited and advised Mama Evette
to take her baby to the witch doctor for treatment. But in faith, Mama Evette
had refused to go because she was now a believer in Jesus.
Brenda further explained how premature babies exhibit the
behavior more frequently because their developing nervous systems are highly
sensitive. Mama Evette confirmed that the twins were born prematurely. Excitement
filled the room as this mother realized both her babies were healthy and
growing normally. God had listened to Mama Evette’s prayers and responded by
granting her the reassurance she craved through the Crarys’ visit.
God could have chosen anyone to answer Mama Evette’s
prayers, yet He orchestrated that the Crarys would travel to Rwanda to be the
vehicle of his love. It didn’t take any
special skills – just knowledge they already had, training they received, and a
willingness to say “yes” to God. Because the Crary family had the faith to go,
God used them in the lives of Mama Evette and her babies.
If you are interested in joining Orphan Care on a PEACE trip
like Mike and Brenda, join us at the monthly PEACE night gathering on at 6pm in
Tent 3 on the 4th Saturday of every month, or contact us at
email@example.com or by phone at (949) 609-8555.
Rob and I started to seriously consider adoption in 2009, but it
seemed as if doors were being closed to us in every direction. We were
told that we could not adopt from China. Our ages disqualified us from
adopting from several countries, and at the time Korea was also not an option
for us. We were very discouraged, and gave up pursuing adoption for a
In 2010, we felt adoption tugging on our hearts again, and after
listening to one of Pastor Rick’s “Just-Do-It” messages, we decided to step out
in faith and look into different adoption programs again. This time,
we were told that we could adopt a special needs child from Korea. I
wasn’t sure if that was the right thing for our family, so I decided to visit
my cousin who had recently adopted her son from China. Her son was
considered special needs due to his cleft lip and pallette. Over Labor Day
weekend, I flew to Indiana to visit her. The instant I met her son, Isaac,
I was in love. He was the cutest, sweetest boy I had ever seen! He truly
brought joy to his entire family. Alone in her guest room on September 6, 2010,
I wept as I told God that I would do whatever He wanted. I was open to any
child He would give me.
In October of 2010, Rob and I met with a social worker and we
officially started the adoption process. To our amazement, we were told
that the laws in Korea had changed and they had re-opened the standard process
to our agency. That meant we would most likely be matched to a healthy
baby boy! We started the arduous process of home studies, fingerprinting,
and filling out form after form after form...after form! Seven months
later we received the email we had been waiting for! We were matched to a
beautiful 8-month old baby boy! It was truly love at first sight! We
received 6 pictures and a general description of our son. The second we
saw him, we knew God picked him out just for us. But it was even more
confirmed when we saw his birthday--September 6, 2010! It was the same
day I told God I would do whatever He wanted!
Robert didn’t come home until he was 23 months old. It was so
difficult to wait for him for 14 months. But now he is a happy, healthy,
smart, beautiful 3 1/2 year old. He is our greatest joy and our greatest
Are you considering adoption but don't know how to get started? Join us the first Wednesday night of every month for Thinking About Adoption, or call us at 949-609-8555!
In Orange County alone, around 3,000 in the foster care
system, over 150 of whom are waiting to be adopted.
Court Appointed Special Advocates are ordinary people with
the desire to make a difference in a child’s life. A CASA volunteer visits
their assigned child in the foster care system regularly, interacts with social
workers assigned to their case, and makes recommendations to the court. They
ensure that the child’s best interests are protected and help them on the
journey to a lasting, lifelong family of their own.
Children in the foster care system can struggle with low
feelings of self-worth, difficulty in school and trouble relating to others –
but it doesn’t have to be this way. Having the stable presence of an adult they
trust can make all the difference. With a CASA volunteer, children are more
likely to find a safe, permanent home, are half as likely to re-enter the
foster care system.
Becoming a CASA is a great way to impact the lives of
vulnerable children in our community. For a commitment of 2 hours twice a month,
you can help change a life!
If you would like to learn more about becoming a CASA in
Orange County, please visit their website http://www.casaoc.org/advocate/ or
sign up for a local information session. Dates and times of upcoming sessions
11th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705
28th 2015 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
7th 2015 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Venue: CASA Training Room
E. 17th Street, Second Floor, Santa Ana, CA, 92705
Questions about join the CASA Orange County program? Contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call the Orphan Care line at 949-609-5555.