At Hope for Life, the ultimate goal is for youth to heal from the trauma of homelessness and lead empowered lives.
For many, this means returning home to the love of family, which may include parents, step-parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or a foster family. Each family undergoes months of preparation as well as undergoing their own trauma-healing before they are ready to receive a youth back into their home with continued support from HFL.
For some HFL youth, however, returning to a family is not possible due to failed family tracing or irreparable relationships. For these young men, their journey involves transitioning into independent living with other youth who are similar in age and lived experiences. These young men are part of a special subgroup of HFL’s Reintegration Program called Youth Empowerment. Over the past year, the services provided for these youth have been enhanced and strengthened to better meet their unique needs. Youth Empowerment is led by Innocent, HFL’s Youth Economic Empowerment Officer. The group meets regularly for services like mentorship, financial literacy training, short and long-term goal setting, and accountability. Innocent also helps connect them to possible internships and career opportunities.
One such youth who currently participates in Youth Empowerment is 21-year-old, Frances*. During the COVID school closures, he spent a lot of time thinking about his future, and decided that he wanted to pursue vocational training instead of continuing with traditional school. Interested in machines, he approached a friend who works with cars. His friend agreed to mentor him, and he has now been working under him for nearly a year! Through conversation with Innocent and his mentor, it was decided that he has reached a skill level where he could begin working more independently. In February, HFL helped Frances purchase his own auto mechanic materials and tools so that he could start working for himself.
Starting a new business during the pandemic would be a challenge for anyone. And yet, Frances has approached it with innovation and determination. In addition to performing car repairs, Frances also started fixing and selling spare parts to supplement his income while he is building his client base. Now that he has a steady source of income, Frances and Innocent also worked together to create a savings plan, with an initial goal of saving $10/month.
We have no doubt that Frances’s ingenuity, honesty, and work ethic will propel him to a flourishing future. Plus, he has the support of the greater Hope for Life community behind him every step of the way. Thank you for empowering Frances and those like him to to heal and grow on the path toward independence.
*Note: All names have been changed for youth confidentiality purposes.
Save the Date for September 16th
While the world is beginning to open back up, out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. team has decided to keep the annual Gala in a virtual format again.
Starting Tuesday, September 14, join us for a week of generosity, hope, and inspiration as we share lots of EXCITING new updates with you! This year, we’ll also host a live streamed event and auction on Thursday, September 16 at 6:00 p.m. PST! In addition to several new videos and stories, you’ll also have the option to buy an event kit, and shop our virtual Rwandan market!
For more information, check out hopeforlife.us/aweekofhope2021
So far this year, your partnership has helped achieve the following:
of families who have been reintegrated in the last three years are still together
caretakers received support in securing employment
youth participated in a two-day leadership training
Over the last year, Hope for Life has undergone a period of assessment and refinement that resulted in several major shifts in our programs, leadership, and organizational culture. We’ve strengthened our trauma-based care, focused heavily on family reintegration, and made changes to our leadership to ensure we have the right team in place to bring us into our second decade of operations. We have hired several new staff members and look forward to announcing a new Executive Director in Rwanda in the next few months.
While necessary and good, transitions can also be challenging. As an organization, we don’t always get it right, especially while operating in the complex and multi-layered context of cross-cultural community development. Transparency is one of our five core values and your trust remains one of our top priorities. Thus, we would like to communicate an issue that has arisen in Rwanda with a few former employees. We will not be naming these individuals in order to protect their privacy.
Over the last year and a half, we made decisions to let several employees go from the organization in Rwanda due to performance concerns. A few of these employees are alleging to have been unfairly dismissed. Despite our Boards of Directors trying to resolve the situation amicably, the situation has proceeded to a court of law in Rwanda. While labor disputes are not uncommon in the country, we seek to be transparent with you and wanted you to hear the news from us directly.
While we are limited ethically and legally regarding what information we can share about specific employees, you are welcome to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your trust and partnership are deeply important to us.
The Rwanda and US Board of Directors