Kevin’s * journey back to School
Kevin*, 14 years old lives with his mother in the North of Rwanda. When Kevin* was in Primary three (P3), his parents struggled to provide him with scholastic materials and basic needs due to poverty and limited knowledge of childcare. He then dropped out of school and went to live on the streets. Kevin’s* mother had no idea of his whereabouts. Living on the street exposed Kevin to violence, an insecure environment, unsafe sanitation conditions, parental neglect, lack of health care, difficulties in accessing food, and shelter.
“On the street, I faced a lot of issues. For example; when someone saw us wandering across the road, they wouldbeat us for no reason. When I got injured, I could not go to the hospitalfor healthcare services.Most of the children drop out of school and are pushed to live on the streets because of poverty and family conflicts, family breakdown, and domestic violence.” Said Kevin*
Save the Children through SIDA CSOs Strengthening Programme, builds the capacity of civil society to hold the Government of Rwanda to account for the realization of children’s rights. Through the partnership with Children’s Voice Today, a local children/youth organization, children’s grassroots groups were established in three districts of Rwanda to mobilize, organize and empower children to advocate for the issues that affect their well-being. This program reached 1730 children in the year 2022 through different activities like training on child rights, advocacy activities
In 2022, children’s grassroots group members approached Kevin* and asked him to join their session to learn more about children’s rights and responsibilities. He then participated in group activities and started sharing how he dropped out of school and was pushed to live on the street. The children’s grassroots group members started to advocate and mobilize resources to support Kevin’s* return to school. This was done through engaging local leaders and conducting home visits to help his mother understand her role in supporting Kevin* to continue his studies for a brighter future. Then, both local and Children’s Group leaders convinced Kevin’s* mother to take him back to school.
Today, Kevin* is in P4. His favourite subjects are English and Social studies. Kevin’s dream is to become a teacher after he finishes school so that he can help street children return to school and gain an education. He also participates in advocacy activities for children who dropped out of school inspiring them to return to school. His mother now understands her role in supporting Kevin finish his studies and local leaders provide children’s Group leaders with space to sensitize parents to respect children’s rights through the community forums.
“Today, I am in P4 and I perform well in class. I am committed to finishing school. My life has changed since I re-enrolled in school. My relationship with my motherhas improved since we reunited. The Children’s group sessions I attend inspire me; they help me know my rights, and where to report whenever my rights are violated.” Said Kevin*
Save the Children has been implementing Child Protection programs in Rwanda since 2015. To ensure children live free from any form of violence, Save the Children has been conducting a number of activities including but not limited to training parents on parenting without violence, raising awareness on child abuse prevention, promoting child participation in decision-making on issues that affect their rights in both humanitarian and development settings, etc. In 2022, a total of 22,434 children were reached.