Back in September, 15 youth participating in Pastor Deo’s Street Children and Youth Ministry piled into a van and ventured outside of Kigali to attend a 6-month Vocational Training program at Amerizo Training Centre. On April 1, 2011, all 15 of them graduated. The journey proved a marked experience of spiritual, physical, and emotional growth for each of them. It was a challenging time that taught these young men and women about discipline, about the love and provision of God, and about the value of their talents and skills.
Thanks to Doug and Sue Minson, faithful friends of PFR and SCYM, the students received full funding from supporters in the USA to complete their training. Each of them opted to participate in specific training in one of the following areas: sewing, carpentry, construction, welding, or plumbing. They now have the skills they need to support themselves and make valuable contributions to the development of their society.
The students celebrated together with the rest of the SCYM children and youth, Doug and Sue, and the PFR staff on April 2.
No one quite speaks to the impact of this training than the students themselves. What follows is a letter written to the students’ supporters. It is adapted from what the students have said during their time in training – whether PFR’s visits to the vocational school or during the holiday season when the youth returned to the office for their break for Christmas and New Year’s.
To Our Supporters:
We are forever grateful for your faithful support of our education. Just 6 months ago, we found ourselves in a bus on our way outside of Kigali. There were 15 of us, and we were, for the first time in our lives, leaving the city streets and the poverty and the lifestyle we had known for far too long. We were going somewhere fresh and new and exciting. We were going to Amerizo Training Centre. We could not quite believe it. It was a dream come to life. It is still amazing to us that this opportunity was given to us, that this door was opened.
We know the streets well. We have seen our friends and family suffer, and we have suffered ourselves. We know there is something beyond the life we lived for so long, and this drive to Amerizo was the beginning of what is beyond. We thank you for thinking of us. We thank you for praying for us. And we thank you for placing your hope in us. Young people living on the streets do not often experience the encouragement of having another human being think of them in this way.
Each of us had a vocation in mind. Some of us would learn to install showers and sinks and water systems in homes. Others of us would learn to build structures – schools, homes, buildings, shops. Others would learn to weld, or to carve, or to sew. Whatever the skills, we were thrilled to acquire them. We were thrilled to become productive members of society. A new society – a place that has changed since 1994, but still carries its own problems. We are eager to actively participate in the rebuilding and restoration of our country.
We thank you for participating in our lives. You have given us hope and you have given us a future. You have shown us love. We have learned so much in these past 6 months, and we anticipate success as we put our newly-acquired skills to use. As the older youth, we have set an example for the younger children in Pastor Deo’s Street Children and Youth Ministry. We are now a source of inspiration for them, and we know that our Lord Jesus has a plan for them, just as he does for us.
We will celebrate our graduation from Amerizo Training Centre on April 2. It will be a wonderful day, and we will think of you. Your participation in our lives will always be remembered. Thank you and God bless you.
--The 1st Graduating Class of Pastor Deo's Ministry to Street Children & Youth (SCYM)
Photo Caption: Emile, a young man who has now graduated from vocational school, demonstrates his skill in installing water systems in homes when the PFR staff visits the students at Amerizo Training Centre.