The Rwandan Orphans Project orphanage is home to nearly 100 boys from just five years old up to eighteen. Most of these children are found in the streets begging or scavenging for food and money, washing in sewers and wandering aimlessly around. Others come from the extreme poverty of Rwanda's rural areas, where they may have gone days without having access to a decent meal or clean water. These children are brought in by our staff who try to find out as much as possible about where these children come from before making them part of the ROP family. Some have lost their families to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, while many others have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, malaria or other diseases. There are also many who were simply abandoned to fend for themselves by families in extreme poverty. Whatever their reason, the ROP believes they deserve a home.
One of the biggest challenges to taking in children from the streets is changing their behavoir. These children have been forced to do whatever they had to do to survive; stealing, begging, joining gangs, fighting, and even taking drugs and alcohol as a means to escape the unending pangs of hunger.