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To improve and enhance the lives of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Rwanda through unique education and health programs.
Who is Hope Shines, Inc...
- Hope Shines is a 501 c 3 international nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado who mission is to improve and enhance the lives of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Rwanda through creative and supplementary education and health programs.
- Hope Shines is currently 100% volunteer run organization with one full time Executive Director and one in country Programs Manager.
- Our unique child development programs target the most vulnerable youth in the geographic areas we work and develop this youth by equipping them with the tools to allow them to organically rise up from poverty.
- Hope Shines consistently seeks to align with the country education and health priorities by addressing the needs of OVC through our Summer Camp, Year-Round Tutoring, Health, and Volunteer Mentoring Programs.
Where it All Began...
- Hope Shines exists due to the residual effects of the 1994 Genocide, in which 800,000-1m Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed. The effects are still very prevalent today, especially in the youth.
- Hope Shines, Inc. was founded by a passionate "do all" personality name April Riegler after a life-changing business trip to Rwanda in 2007. She started with nothing in the bank but she had HOPE and a drive that would create the foundational elements of Hope Shines today!
- Officially incorporated in 2009 as a 501 c 3 nonprofit but operations and our first mentoring Summer Camp program took place in 2008.
Key Issues Addressed by Hope Shines...
- The need for OVC to afford and pay for school fees. We believe that it is a right for all children to be able to get an education and Hope Shines keeps our OVC in school by paying for school fees and uniforms.
- The lack of mentorship with OVC in Rwanda. Many children live in crowded households or are the head of household, which takes away from a child being able to live as a child. The extreme pressures on these children disallow them to get loving attention and encouragement that ultimately leads them to better school grades and more confidence to succeed. Hope Shines offers mentorship and "big brother, big sister" care for all those in our program.
- Extremely low access to health care and the ability to pay for insurance. Hope Shines medical staff and volunteers perform annual health check-ups to help address critical issues such as poor vision or hearing, ailments due to drinking unsafe water, and on-going malaria incidents. We ensure that these needs are met through our check-ups and by paying for health insurance of each child.
- On-going education in health and hygiene. Hope Shines delivers teaching curriculums centered on HIV/AIDS education, personal and feminine hygiene, malaria prevention techniques, and overall healthy living. Our health initiative also includes food security during our summer camps and our weekly year-round tutoring program.
- Career development; Hope Shines incorporates and trains young adults and secondary students on the fundamental concepts in career preparation. Hope Shines’ career workshops prepare youth for the next step in their life whether that is vocational school, university, or a full time job.
- Allow OVC to see a path to success by breaking down innate barriers that otherwise would prevent them from thriving.
- Improve the health of children and their caregivers so they can focus on schooling and developing into a positive member of their communities.
- Use mentorship as an umbrella to all we do. Mentoring is at the hub of all Hope Shines programs and we believe this can give these OVC the confidence and spirit to manage adversity so they can ultimately strive for greatness.
- Offer a positive and cultural education experience for our Summer Camp volunteers so they will see the world as one community and one day want to give back in their own way.
- Create and enhance programs that tailor to the changing priorities of Rwanda. Our continuing focus on this notion will drive us to produce a well-equipped youth that can now create their own opportunities in their communities after moving on from our center of education.
- We seek to partner with organizations and government to add value to our programs that will always be able to address the changing needs of Rwanda’s youth.
- Summer Camp Program: OVC in the Hope Shines learning center participate in an annual week-long summer camp with activities and teachings in Science, Sports & Play, Career Workshops, English Speaking, Arts & Crafts, and Health and Hygiene. They are fed each day of the camp to ensure better nutrition. Curriculums for camp are created through collaborative efforts between US and Rwandan educators and implemented by Hope Shines US volunteers and staff along with Rwandan camp counselors.
- Tutoring Program: Children participate each Saturday for 38 sessions in tutoring. They are fed each session and curriculum subjects include Career Development, Science, and English. Subject focus also aims to prepare students for their National Exams.
- Healthy Child Initiative Program: Annual exams are performed during summer camp to check hearing, vision, and ailments. No medicines are given but issues are addressed through the local medical clinics. Health and Hygiene education is offered during camps only at this time with aspirations of building a permanent clinic on site.