Dream Village: Where Children’s Dreams Are Nurtured to Reality
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It is a sunny and bright day as all Dream Village (DV) Rwanda beneficiaries are assembled at Kigali Parents School grounds to celebrate the 2022 Dream Village Day.
Alice Umuganwa, one of the girl beneficiaries at Dream Village delivers to her friends a poem called “My life is in my hands. Do you really know that it is in your hands?”
The poem is dedicated to young Rwandans, the country’s future leaders, in which she calls for action to fight against threats destroying lives of youth and a reminder they have the power in our hands, to change this.
“I’m a girl, I’m a sweetheart, I’m a champion, the road is closed, I’m growing up, and I’m a champion of kindness and gentleness.”
“I have brought my talent out so we can put our plans together. I blow the horn to seek help; I sigh and give my life to God,:” she says.
Umuganwa says youth must not value what makes them less valued and strive to protect their lives from destruction, and to be silent about it.
“Well, to protect our life is not to eat or drink well; it is not to go home safely, but to preserve it, because there is no one else to protect it!
My peers, my colleagues, I urge you to stop engaging in many evils, because it is like drowning our life, and we know that what is wasted is never recovered!,” she says.
Umuganwa says that most young Rwandans are adultery and other things, I won’t tell you about them engaged in delinquency behavior such as adultery, drug abuse and alcoholism which she says flatters their value in life but are destructive traps.
“The consequences are immediate, HIV/ AIDS and Sexually transmitted diseases, causing us stress, loss of our lives, and where is the future we are building,” she decried.
The National Rehabilitation Service (NRS) says that the highest factors of delinquency in Rwanda are attributed to family poverty, family conflicts, low level education, peer pressure and drug abuse, and unemployment- as the largest part of it.
This has seen most of the delinquents escaping from the homes, indulgence in criminal activities and idleness which has resulted into many of them being arrested, detained and processed at transit centers before being sent to one of the government rehab centers.
At Dream Village, some of these children who could potentially fall into this trap have found a chance and home to change this path by participating in youth development, empowerment programs available.
Dream Village supports over 4,000 children in Kigali city who benefit from different projects implemented by the organization.
The Community Adolescent Treatment Supporters’ project (CATS) provides packaged services for children, adolescents, and young people living with HIV so that they know, understand, and accept their HIV status but also take the medication with no stigma.
The Rwanda Nook Hub- a self-learning center where the children learn life skills by exploring the internet and creating income-generating projects.
The Imboni project, The bamboo project for making bamboo crafts for sale, and the Organic Agriculture VTC Project on top of running other empowerment programs, short courses, training, and basic education support and support groups.
On Dream Village Day, an annual celebration of life among the beneficiaries, they exhibit their hand works and products for community viewing and purchasing.
The day is dedicated only to DV children, adolescents and young people celebrating life benefits at the village and benefits, but also plans for the future.
Led by Dream Village founder and CEO, Norman Manzi, government officials, parents and well-wishers visited all the exhibition stands to have a firsthand tour and understanding of what happens in the village.
From the CATS project to Agriculture and the Nook projects, Visitors managed to learn, purchase, and order products on site made by the youths, but also understand how these projects have improved the welfare of beneficiaries.
“I was surprised by what I saw, especially because it was the first time I participated in such a day this year, and this year’s theme- “Let’s give Youth opportunities to unleash their potential,” said an official of Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) one of the DV Rwanda partners.
The DV Day 2022 is also aimed at showcasing achievements made by these young people, as well as seeing the challenges they face and finding solutions, and how to improve.
The day was characterized by a lot of activities, socializing, playing, showing talents, holding various Exhibitions and seeing the achievements and taking measures to solve the problems facing the Dream Village community as a whole.
For beneficiaries, the day was one of joy, celebration and reconnecting or networking between the staff, partners and beneficiaries and at least 35 children, adolescents and young people representatives are selected from the 12 health facilities that the organization works in.
This year, as usual, it kicked off with competitive and lucrative football matches between Gikondo and Biryogo DV Teams.
Children benefiting from Dream Village from different health facilities acted in a theatre that shows that it is not good to ignore, stigmatize people living with HIV.
The children also played role plays focused on the message that aims to encourage young people to follow health advice to maintain their health, and good behavior, avoiding what puts their life in danger.
There was a display of other different talents. In one act, the beneficiaries showed a painting of mountains with darkness, which symbolized their life journey of going from darkness to light and new life at the Dream Village Rwanda.
“Where we are now, is light, but if there is no attendance to all the medical procedures, darkness may come” one said.
“This painting shows love, including a man greeting a girl. This picture represents Rwanda our country where we are taught prevention in sexual health and we wanted to connect it with Dream Village Rwanda which also does the same,” he explained.
Spirits remained high with all smiles among DV youth as they celebrated their day with selfies, networking and performing live music shows and freestyle dances, and performance stunts, and were blown into excitement with a live performance by youthful upcoming artist Juno Kizigenza.
Girl or boy, young or old, dream village day was a powerful moment for the children to express themselves, expose their potential and live a dream they have each chosen in life at Dream Village.