In the rural town of Kayonza, children are particularly at risk, and many live in extremely difficult situations with limited access to school education. HIV/AIDS is particularly prominent in this region and vulnerable child-headed households are common.
On 6 May, Princess Benedikte of Denmark officially opened the SOS Children's Village in Kayonza, where up to 120 children with no one else to care for them will find a home with a new family. She was joined by the mayor of Kayonza District, the governor of Eastern Province of Rwanda, and many other honoured guests.
The families have already been formed and children enjoyed taking part in the opening ceremony. Dressed in traditional costumes, they performed a series of dances and songs for the guests, as well as poems they had written especially for the event. One child’s poem, recited in the local language (Kinyarwanda) read: “We have gone through many tragedies and fears, we were traumatized, but now we no longer suffer, we no longer have fear. We have hope now. We have hope because SOS Children's Village is here, we have hope because SOS mothers are here.”
SOS have also built facilities for the local community in Kayonza, including a SOS Nursery and an SOS Primary School with six classrooms for over 200 pupils. An SOS Medical Centre offers treatments and preventative care for hundreds of local families. In addition, SOS have established a Social Centre which will strengthen families living in poverty at risk of family breakdown. The centre offers parenting lessons and counselling, along with nutritional, health and career guidance to empower parents to care for their children and help them to stay together.
SOS Children have been active in Rwanda since 1979. We now have four SOS Villages in the country, which, along with numerous community facilities, support 10,000 children and families. Find out more about our work here.