The Rwandan government has decided to close all orphanages in the country. Orphanages no longer suit Rwanda, which wants to be a middle-income country by 2020. It is stated in the UN guideline for vulnerable children as well: children are better off in households.
32 children from the L’Esperance Children’s Village followed a photography course in November of 2014, just several weeks before the orphanage was to be closed. The children of L’Esperance portrayed their lives. They grew up without mirrors, tap water and without electricity. During the course, they learned to look at themselves and the world. The pictures of the children are brought together in a photo note book that gives a unique insight into their world. The photo note book is now on sale. And the good news is: 75% of proceeds go directly to school fees for the children.
L’Esperance is at the forefront; most of the country’s 34 orphanages are still in the process of closing. Although the government’s deadline for closure of the orphanages was postponed at the eleventh hour, the donors had by then already withdrawn their support. Many children ended up in poor families, with some now no longer being able go to school.
Paulien Bakker visited the orphanage for the first time in 2005. Together with its director Victor Monroy, she set up a Baby home for babies until the age of 2 that could not be provided for at the orphanage: Victor Monroy Trust.
The babies have all left. The oldest ones (Solomon and Samuel) are now 9. The foundation and its bank account have found a new destination: to send the kids this project is following to school. The funds primarily go to help Fisto, Samuel, Jean-Cloude and Hirwa finish primary school (50 euros a year), and get them and Solomon through secondary school (boarding school; 500 euros a year). Any remaining money will be put to help a few older children that are now living on the streets back to school. The money will be paid annually directly to the school through a trusted intermediary.