Where Are They Now

Since 2009, the generous partnership of givers around the world has resulted in over 1,120 individuals experiencing healing from homelessness and poverty. Over 130 children have exited homelessness, 41 families have been reunited, and 12 youth have gained financial independence. Your support provides holistic, family-centered, and trauma-informed care for those who have been separated by homelessness.
Over the past 12 years, we have introduced you to many children, youth, and families who have benefited from your love and financial support. In this series, we highlight eight individuals by sharing where they are now thanks to your partnership.
*Note: All names have been changed for youth confidentiality purposes.
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James is proud to be HFL’s first youth to attend university! He came to HFL in 2013, reintegrated with his grandmother in 2017, and was able to graduate high school in 2019 with an emphasis in mathematics, chemistry, and biology. After graduation, he worked at a local athletic club while he contemplated university.

In the summer of 2020, HFL helped him with the national university application, and we were so excited when he was offered a scholarship from the government! He was accepted at the University of Rwanda where he will study agriculture.

James has goals of having a “good life by working for it, living in harmony with people, helping other people, and having a beautiful family in a few years.”

He wishes to thank HFL partners for the support, “I was able to achieve a good life, my education is all due to the incredible support I was given by good people. This support gave my future a direction. My real life started at the time I joined Hope for Life.”
“Nowadays I am happy that I can rent my own house, I can feed myself, I finished high school…all of these are great accomplishments for me.” George was HFL’s first graduate to achieve financial independence. While in school, he studied electronics and telecommunications. The transition after graduating school was challenging for George at first, but he learned how to use his skills and make an income.

Today, George is employed by an electrical company. He currently lives on his own in Kigali where he is able to provide for himself and has even started to create a savings fund.

“I have many friends in my community and at church where I attend. For fun, my favorite thing to do is sing and play guitar. When I sing or play, I feel so much peace. I would like to get married. I think about it often and I even pray for it.”

When asked about the future, George shares, “I hope someday to be self-employed with the ability to have a big company and hire different people.”
“I’m very proud that I’ve been able to work at Hope for Life’s transitional rehabilitative center with the boys. It has allowed me to support my family, which is the greatest accomplishment that I have had in life.”

Daniel came to HFL through the community sponsorship program in early 2016. He was a driven and intelligent secondary student, but due to poverty, he was at great risk of needing to drop out of school. Thanks to monthly support, he was able to stay in school and graduated in November 2019! That December, he was invited to join the staff at HFL to support programs. At first, he was primarily doing case management in the Outreach Program. When COVID hit and the Outreach Program was indefinitely suspended, Daniel moved to the role of Residential Counselor at the Transitional Center. He currently lives near the HFL campus with other young adults and is able to help financially support his family. “I was challenged in starting this new life after high school. It was a hard situation but with time, it became better. I have been using many of the skills and knowledge I learned in school to support the boys.” This year has been really hard on Daniel’s family. He explained, “I’m very grateful to Hope for Life for employment this last year. I have been able to provide food for my family through COVID, and support them in different ways. My dream is to finish university so I can serve my country, and even the world.”

At the Center, the youngest boys especially love Daniel, sharing “We all love how he plays with us. He helped me catch up in reading and writing.”

We are so grateful for your support of youth like Daniel, who has so much to offer the community and is becoming a Changemaker of his own.
From the moment Matthew arrived at Hope for Life in early 2016, it was clear that he was gifted. He was enrolled in a private academy where he worked hard, immediately understanding the value that education had for his future. At the end of primary school, he completed his national exams and performed so well, that he received a special placement by the government in a top secondary school!

That first year of boarding school highlighted his transformation. While away at boarding school, it can be tempting for young boys to get into trouble, but not Matthew. He continues to do well and remains at the top of his class.

In late 2019, Matthew was officially reunified with his family. With HFL’s help, he had been investing in strengthening his relationship with his uncle. It became strong and his uncle eventually welcomed Matthew home as his son. Mathew has also been able to reconnect with other family members, including his older brother!

Matthew is an impressive and kind young man. He is a role model to younger boys in his community and at HFL. After secondary school, he has dreams to attend university, particularly abroad! Monthly support ensures that Matthew’s gifted potential continues to be realized and reached.
“I am now responsible for my family, not only myself. I work hard to take care of my family.”

Christopher is the first HFL youth to marry and have a child! One of HFL’s first participants, Christopher was reunified with family in 2012, where he continued receiving psychosocial and economic support. He attended vocational school for welding and eventually reached financial independence in 2019.

“I have been using my welding skills for small jobs in the village. When there is not enough work in welding, I cultivate different crops. I have been able to save money and I can buy all of us medical insurance every year.”

“When my first welding machine was stolen, Hope for Life helped me replace it. But one of my greatest accomplishments recently has been growing and harvesting crops. I have dreams to continue my own self-development so that I may move my family from one financial level to another. I want to see my son go to school. I will continue working hard so that I may be a respectable and contributing member of society.”
Perhaps more than any other HFL boy, Joshua has had the most drastic transformation. Born with limb differences, he and his family were often harassed by others in the community. He was not able to attend school due to his mobility issues and his family could not afford the medical care and intervention necessary to improve his quality of life. Many of the boys at Hope for Life’s Transitional Center knew Joshua and advocated for his enrollment in HFL’s services.

In early 2015, HFL was able to get Joshua fitted for a prosthetic. He was now able to attend school, and within 8 months, it was clear he was very intelligent and driven. However, doctors recommended that his other leg potentially be amputated and also fitted with a prosthetic. With generous support from the HFL community, Joshua was able to travel to Kenya to receive additional consultations and the surgery needed for him to keep his leg! Following his surgery in 2017, he resided at the Transitional Center to heal and recuperate.

Hope for Life staff and boys gave Joshua a space to come and be himself. The boys of HFL gave Joshua life again. They taught him, included him, and loved him after he spent much of his young life being shunned. The two years he resided at the Transitional Center, he competed with two other boys for the top academic spot at their school. We are all so proud of him!

Joshua returned home in 2019. He’s happy to be home with his mom and younger brothers, and also be able to continue his education. He continues to fight for the top spot in his class!

Thanks to the generosity of monthly supporters, Joshua and his family continue to receive the support they need from HFL. In February 2021, he began meeting with doctors to get fitted for a new prosthetic as he has outgrown his current one! We cannot wait to see how Joshua and his family continue to grow and be a light to those around them.
“I still use my training, not only to earn money, but to remind myself of the different skills that I have.”

Oliver is the definition of hard work and resilience. One of HFL’s first participants, Oliver has come a long way in his young life. After living at HFL’s center for a few years, he reintegrated back to his family in 2011. In 2019, he completed vocational school in welding, found his first job, and reached financial independence. He also decided to learn the skills necessary to be a barber and he even started his own salon! He was proudly able to support his mother and siblings with food, clothing, and medicine.

Then COVID hit and crushed his business. But that did not keep Oliver from learning how to provide for those around him, sharing, “This last year was challenging because of COVID, but I found someone to help cultivate, so I have been learning to grow fruits and vegetables.”

“Even though it was my first time cultivating, I was able to harvest a lot of food. I feel proud that I was able to do that. I’m proud that I have learned so many skills. I would like to learn more about rearing livestock. My long-term goal is to become a businessman using one of my skills to support myself and my family.”

Despite changing paths multiple times, Oliver has always worked hard and is determined to create a better life for himself and his family. He is also one of the first HFL youth to grow his family! “I have a son named Isaac. I want to be able to provide for all of us.”

Oliver recently began working with HFL staff again to help him strengthen his businesses and ability to provide for his family. Even though Oliver has officially graduated from HFL programs, we understand that sometimes, youth and families need additional support as life unfolds. No matter what he does, we know Oliver will be successful and continue to care for those in his life.
Paul represents one of the most successful reintegrations at HFL. When he came to Hope for Life’s Center in 2015, he was several years behind academically. But he worked extremely hard to get caught up, spending his evenings in tutoring sessions at the Center. Compared to others, he was fearless in learning and wasn’t afraid to make mistakes. One day, it all started to come together for him, and he became one of the best-English speakers to ever come through HFL’s programs.

Paul also transformed behaviorally. When he first came to HFL, he was full of anger and struggled to process his emotions in a healthy way. Through psychosocial counseling, he was able to learn how to control his emotions and cope when things are difficult. Staff at the Center recognized this change,saw his potential, and offered him many responsibilities. He became one the best ‘helpers,’ choosing to assist the guards or the cooks in the kitchen regularly. He was always ready to prepare food or cook a meal. These responsibilities gave him the opportunity to relate to others and practice his communication skills.

In 2019, Paul was ready to reintegrate. Through family tracing, it was determined that he would thrive best with a foster mother, a woman who had once cared for him years prior. She eagerly welcomed him back and through monthly giving, Paul continues his education.

This reunification is special as there is so much love and mutual respect between Paul and his foster mother. Paul said, “I love her too much. I am not even her biological child and she treats me like her son. I am no different than her children. When I think of her, I feel something in my chest and I can even have some water in my eyes.”

At his new school, Paul was chosen to be ‘the language prefect,’ nominated by his teachers to ensure that everyone is speaking English as much as possible. It’s incredible to see a boy with little education who once lived in fear and anger now serve as a role model for his peers and have so much love to give to others.

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