village times volume 3, 2014

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The Village Times is a tri-annual newsletter produced by students, staff, and volunteers at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda. For more information on the ASYV, visit Facebook: AgahozoShalom Twitter: @asyv YouTube: theASYV




    This year will forever be remembered as the most tragic for the Village because of the loss of our dear founder and mother, Anne Heyman. In the midst of despair and deep sense of hopelessness, the ASYV community came together in the realization that Anne is bigger than her human form. Annes ideas and her ideals live on through those who she was able to touch in her life. At Agahozo-Shalom especially, we continue to live with the values that Anne believed in, and reach our goals in accordance with her great vision. Soon after Annes passing, the children of Agahozo-Shalom embraced the slogan: we will strive to be the people you have always wanted us to be. Anne reminded us to give love to those who need it the most, for it is love that connects us to one another. I strongly believe that Anne has been with us this whole year, and she will continue to guide us as we continue our forward momentum. !Over this past year, ASYV has experienced some noteworthy successes. We are proud of ASYVs inaugural Stand Up & Be Counted Event held in Rwanda. We raised nearly $100,000 from the local and international community, and welcomed distinguished guests, such as Her Excellency Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, First Lady of Rwanda. In her remarks, Mrs. Kagame recognized the amazing work of Anne Heyman, the board and everyone who supports ASYV. Mrs. Kagame said that, supporting Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a symbol that we can and should support our very own, and thus guard this jewel we call Rwanda. She added, there is no doubt that this community of change-makers will deliver no less than the incredible. !At school, our students are performing well and we continue to see improvement in their extracurricular activities. Our Senior 6 (fourth year) students are preparing to take the National Exam at the end of October, and we expect another terrific performance. While we will be sad to say goodbye to another graduating class, we have everything in place to welcome a new grade of kids to the Village in December. !We have many goals set for the New Year, such as working closely with the Ministry of Education to bring a TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) program to the Village. The 8.5 MW Solar Field that Anne worked so hard to establish on Agahozo-Shaloms property is fully operational. It will provide nearly 8% more electricity to the national grid and will increase the visibility of the Village within Rwanda, as well as to the international community. !!!!!


    Internally, I believe the commitment of the ASYV staff has never been higher. As a result of their dedication, the outcome of our programs is more successful than ever. This year the Village released a CD with original songs, written and performed by ASYV students and staff. This is a wonderful example of the sort of talent we are fostering within Agahozo-Shalom. We are working to get this CD released on iTunes in the near future. Furthermore, our Village debate team is competing at the regional and national levels. They are among the best debaters in the country, and I am so proud of their accomplishments! !Another amazing highlight is the creation of Hope For the Future, which is an ASYV student-led initiative to support four vulnerable kids in the local community of Rubona. ASYV students are coming together to fundraise for the tuition of these children, as well as donate many of their necessary school materials. This is a supreme example of our kids paying it forward and I could not be more proud. !To our graduating seniors in the Indatwa grade, I wish to tell them that they will be remembered for their resilience and commitment to success. They are a group of very talented young adults and it has been a pleasure watching them grow over the past few years. I know they are capable of achieving their goals as long as they keep the philosophy of the Village alive in their hearts. !It is hard to believe that it is the time of the year again for reflection. As I look back on the year, I see a lot of improvement in the coherence of the Village, but of course there are always opportunities to raise the bar. Our goal is to do everything possible for our youth to maximize their potential and to become agents of change in their respective communities, in our nation and all over the world. I am proud that Anne was able to see some of these achievements come to fruition. At ASYV, we are committed to redoubling our efforts so that all of our children become the responsible citizens that Anne always wanted to see. We strongly believe that Agahozo-Shalom will contribute greatly to ending the cycle of the orphan situation in Rwanda. Every day is one step closer towards realizing this goal. In spite of all challenges, we will succeed, and Annes dream and legacy will live on!

    Jean Claude Nkulikiyimfura

    Village Director

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS Note from the Village Director

    We Did it Together! Eugene Habimana: Senior Class (Indatwa) Grade Coordinator

    Village Voices: Educator Not Your Traditional Rwandan Classroom

    Literature Teacher: Julius Kaboyo Just a Moment

    Senior Students Prepare for Rwandas National Exam Village Voices: Fellow

    Reflections from a Village Fellow Programs Coordinator and Sports Development: Leigh Woods

    Village Voices: First Year Students We Can Make A Change

    First Year Students Original Poem Village Voices: Informal Educator

    They Grow Up So Fast Family Mother: Catherine Umuziranenge

    Preparing for Life After ASYV A Look Inside Student Resource Center

    Words of Wisdom from the Class of 2014 Senior Students Reflect on their Time at ASYV

    Village Voices: Administrator The Legacy of Indatwa Grade

    School Principal: Bonaventure Mujyeneza Class Photos The End


    My name is Eugene Habimana, and I am the grade coordinator for the Indatwa Grade senior students. I have worked for the ASYV for almost four years, and have had the pleasure of watching this grade grow since their first year in the Village. I came to the ASYV after I graduated from university and worked as a big brother (counselor) to first and second year students before becoming a grade coordinator. !When the kids first arrived in the Village, they were so small and scrawny. Looking back on their initial appearance, it is amazing to see what strong people they have turned out to be. Over time, I have seen their behavior mature. They maneuver challenges with much more grace and composure than they did when they first arrived. During their first years in the Village, many of the students needed coaxing to complete the tasks required of them. Now they have become responsible, they show up for class on time and do their homework; they participate in extracurricular activities, and are active in their roles as leaders on campus. I can see that they have taken to heart the philosophies of the Village. I see this the most with the Village lesson of Tikkun Olam (healing by helping others). Many of the Indatwa students are looking forward to going back to their communities after graduation with business models and plans to develop their country. !There is one student in particular who stands out in my mind as having truly evolved during his time at ASYV. When he first arrived, he was very troubled, and he had terrible behavior. He was angry and rude, and it was difficult to make him participate in any activities. He had a hard time making friends, and even the boys in his family found him disrespectful. I cannot tell you how different this boy is today. He has transformed. He will be remembered always as being one of the greatest innovators at ASYV. He created a news program that actually inspired other kids to create competing news shows. Seeing his creation catch on in the Village motivated him to become the leader that he is today. His transformation is truly incredible, and I am excited to see how he proceeds from here. I have become so close with this grade; it will be difficult to see them leave. I want them to continue their pursue their dreams, whether that means studying at university, or becoming entrepreneurs. I want to see them all continue on their way to becoming educated and important people within their communities. This is my greatest wish for them. !As a grade, we worked very hard to create a sense of unity among all 128 of us. This was quite a challenge as we have so many different personalities, but somehow, over time, we were able to do it. The kids tell me about their plans after graduation, and often they include a fellow Indatwa classmates. I am happy to see them leaning from one another as family- this was always my goal as coordinator, to create a semblance of family. !To my Indatwa students I want to tell them to never give up. They have displayed such courage thus far, they should continue to tap into this reserve and push themselves forward. Their futures will be bright so long as they keep up the hard work, communication, and teamwork that they have masterfully exhibited throughout their time at ASYV. !!


    My name is Julius Kaboyo. I teach literature at the Liquidnet Family High School for third-year students. Before coming to the ASYV, I worked at an international school in Musanze, Rwanda in the north of the country. I also spent some time working as a free-lance journalist for the New Times, a daily newspaper distributed throughout Rwanda. I have always loved teaching, and I am glad to have the opportunity to teach literature to the students of the Aga