“I also told them [street children] that they can accomplish their dreams only when they join forces and abandon loneliness and that I would try my best to help them as much as I could. I also told them that together we could find help and people to support us because we are no longer invisible. “
Niyonsenga Pacifique lived on the street of Kigali from age 6. He later was fortunate and met a Canadian missionary named Bruno who befriended him and helped him get an education. After Pacifique finished high school, he was determined to help other street children going through the same hardships he experienced growing up. In April 2012, he founded the Rwandan Niyo Cultural Center, dedicated to improving the lives of street children. Today, as a growing non-profit organization, the Niyo Cultural Center teaches 60 street children traditional Rwandan dance, singing and drumming, and the children perform at events around the city. Pacifique uses the money raised by these performances to pay the children’s school fees, medical care and living expenses.
Yet, donations and fundraising alone weren’t sufficient to support all the children. Being an accomplished painter, Pacifique sells his artwork to fund his cultural center. Through Pacifique’s dedication, some of these children have managed to gain confidence and most importantly, skills which will carry them further in life. During one of his recent interviews with CNN, Pacifique stated, “I wish I could have enough ability and capacity to support as many [street children] as I can. My future plan is to have a home for them, where I can support over 1,000 children, giving them the opportunity to be educated.” His words to the children are as follows:
“Being a street child is not the end of life. Life changes. And you don’t have to give up and to lose hope. You can be a better person if you want to be. Your life can be changed. Don’t be afraid to try. Try your best to make your dreams a reality.”
If you would like to help Pacifique and the children reach their dreams, please visit: http://www.gofundme.com/jw5p24 Thank you.
(Courtesy of Arnold Agaba: http://www.24report.net/former-street-child-inspires-life-through-art/) (http://www.niyoculturalcentre.org/about/) (http://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2015/02/16/spc-african-voices-pacifique-niyonsenga-a.cnn)