How It Began
For 100 days in 1994, Rwanda experienced a genocide in which 1/3 of the population perished. The conflict did not exclude mothers, fathers, children or families. HIV infected men used rape as a weapon of destruction, increasing the death toll in the years following those 100 days of war.
In the aftermath, it is estimated that 75,000 children were orphaned immediately, with upwards of over 800,000 in 2012.
In June of 2013, a small team of volunteers traveled to a small, hidden orphanage on the cliffs of Kigali, Rwanda. Although the children and widows there did not receive regular meals or have a safe place to play and sleep, they had created a family.
Encouraged and inspired by the exceptional resilience of these children, the volunteer team made a commitment to each child and young adult. This commitment included that they would not be forgotten and that this trip was only the beginning.
With that promise, Imana (God’s) Kids was born.
Imana Kids Today
Over the past three years, we have worked to create long-term, sustainable solutions that empower vulnerable children in Rwanda. Below is a list of our current projects/programs.
By connecting children with sponsors who will pray for and financially support their education, we strive to foster relationships and equip the children with essential tools to establish themselves and their families in the the future. By sponsoring a child for boarding school, many of the child’s basic needs are met – clean water, food, shelter, clothing. Each sponsor receives report cards, updates, and letters from their sponsored child, and has the opportunity to write letters and send small gifts in return.
In October 2014 we established a safe haven where our Imana Kids can eat, sleep, and receive loving care when they are out of school, or too sick to attend. Sparrow’s Nest is also a center for tutoring, counseling, and spiritual instruction for the children. Our Visiting Orphans teams (see below) visit Sparrow’s Nest regularly.
Leading Teams: Visiting Orphans
Imana Kids started through a Visiting Orphans team assembled by God and led by Kara and Ryan Higgins. Our mission is that every Imana Kid knows that he/she is a child of God and that they are loved. One of the best avenues to show love is to go and be love for these children. Through Visiting Orphans, we lead teams and travel to Sparrow’s Nest regularly with short-term mission teams.