We promised some more details about our exciting new partnership with Jackie Chan’s European foundation and here they are!

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JC Dragon’s Heart Europe, which is the European branch of Jackie Chan’s original Chinese foundation, is a new charity which was set up in February this year. The original Dragon’s Heart Foundation was set up by Mr Chan to help children and elderly people in China’s remote areas and has given out millions of dollars since it began in 2005. The European branch was set up to help people in Europe and Africa and to utilise the army of European Jackie Chan fans who were already fundraising for his Chinese charity.

In August, JC Dragon’s Heart Europe and the ROP finalised a partnership that will hopefully see us working together for the long term.

The foundation’s Gail Frith said: “As a new charity, we were keen to identify a project to support where we could make an impact and a very real difference. When the Rwandan Orphans Project contacted us, it was immediately clear that it ticked all the boxes for us.”

They will be helping the ROP in a number of ways over the coming months and years. Their first donation to the ROP will be for a new water tank to ensure we do not run out of water during Rwanda’s twice-yearly dry season. Currently, we have just one water tank, which means that during the dry season our boys often have to carry water up from the well in buckets. This generous donation from Dragon’s Heart will make a big difference to us.

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They will also help us meet our boys’ education costs in the future, which, along with food, is the ROP’s greatest expense each month. And most excitingly of all, they have committed to help us pay for the construction of a brand new ROP centre on our very own land.

Gail said: “JC Dragon’s Heart Europe will aspire to achieve these priorities by organising fundraising events in Europe, but are delighted to report that we are in the process of meeting the first priority already as funds are available to purchase a new water tank.

“The other priorities are ongoing, long term projects and as such, JC Dragon’s Heart Europe sees this as just the beginning of a long term partnership.”

As anyone who knows our boys can tell you, Jackie Chan is a big deal at the ROP. The boys absolutely adore him and he is something of a hero to them. They don’t seem to know the names of any other actors, but they are ALWAYS asking for Jackie Chan films. When we agree, they leap around and squeal with delight. Watching them watch the climax of the new Karate Kid film was a strangely emotional experience, as they wooped, clapped and even cartwheeled in sheer joy at the young protagonist’s defeat of the bullies. Somehow Jackie Chan really means something to them and we are proud and very grateful that JC Dragon’s Heart Europe has chosen us as one of their partners. We look forward to seeing how we can work together to help the boys of the ROP.

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Sean Jones

Sean Jones is the coordinator at the ROP Center and has been working at with the children in Kigali since January 2010.

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