“In Rwanda,” says the Salesian, “we carry out our mission among poor children and young people, and in Rango, in the district of Huye, we help more than 120 street children; but at the national level there are many more.
The situation of street children is characterized by high uncertainty and a continuous violation of their rights: from education to the right to health, protection, food, to live with their parents. Everyone has dropped out of school and often have a tough job to earn a few cents. Most of them suffer from malnutrition and other diseases such as dysentery, malaria and scabies.
On the street they also suffer from lack of sleep: they stop only a few hours a day on a cardboard and sleep with one eye open for fear that someone will steal the few things they have. Many risk taking drugs to forget their problems.”
What is the commitment of the Salesians to them?
“In 2016, a project was launched for street children, which is now continuing above all with the reception of the "St John Bosco" parish in Rango. Our goal is to touch different aspects of the person: body care, the suspension of drug use. Children are treated, they learn hygiene again, they play sports.
From a psychological point of view we try to listen to these children, to help them to recover slowly from the trauma, and to regain confidence in themselves and in others. We want children to be happy, to continue studying and learning to read, but also to play; that they receive new clothes, uniforms, and that they regain respect for adults and other children; and that they can participate in the prayer activity of the Salesian center, respecting the sensitivity and history of each one, since the center welcomes children of all faiths.
Looking at the specific situation of Rango, the Salesians would like to increase the preparation of enough food for everyone and build a hospitality center for them, but we still need financial support.”
What would you like to ask the Church, Western Christians and international institutions?
“We ask for financial help to protect children at risk and to raise awareness in the world community to promote respect for the dignity of the world's vulnerable children.”