AFRICA/RWANDA - We want children to go back to school and start living with their parents again

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Butare (Agenzia Fides) - Child labor, disease, hunger, mistreatment are just some of the contexts in which street children are involved in Rwanda. "They do not go to school, they survive by offering their labor and dedicating themselves to small trades and businesses. They end up living on the street as a result of separations, bereavement. Or, simply, for too much misery". This is what Father Daniel Antunez, an Argentine Salesian, writes about the sad reality that unites so many minors in this African country.
"They carry heavy bags, fetch water, collect and sell pieces of metal, empty plastic bottles, glass. Most of them suffer from malnutrition and other diseases, they sleep with one eye open for fear that someone will steal the few, meager things they possess. They are afraid, abused, tired, hungry", remarked the priest who is also president of Missioni Don Bosco.
"My confreres from Rango, in the city of Butare, southern Rwanda, have started for them the 'Don Bosco Children Ejo heza', a program that provides for a first approach of minors on the street and inclusion in a psychological rehabilitation, educational and social process that culminates, if possible, in family reunification".
Ejo heza, which in the local language means 'tomorrow will be better', was launched at the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. "Children from the street started knocking on the door of our parish in Rango. Through word of mouth, they now come in large numbers. We want them to go back to school and start living with their parents again, because they have the right to a live as peaceful children and have a future as respectable adults", concludes the Salesian. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2022)