[b]Out of Low Expectations Emerges A New Leader[/b]
In June 2014, some 39 villagers in the eastern Congolese village of Mutarule perished in an ethnic-based massacre. Among the survivors were Hekima and his parents, who found their way to Rwenena as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Hekima was born with Madelung's deformity, leaving his left hand without functionality. His parents are subsistence farmers and his father is blind in one eye. IDPs and those with physical impairments are two categories of vulnerable children in our program.
At age 7, Hekima came to Rwenena Primary School last year as an incoming first grader. Neither his parents nor his teachers believed he could succeed with the use of only one hand, but he proved them wrong. As school progressed, he scored second highest in his class. Hekima had been placed in our after-school supplementary education program for struggling learners. His teacher, Florence, reports, “We admire Hekima more and more. He continues to improve in large part because of the after-school programs.”
Hekima engages actively in our Sport for Peace program, despite sometimes losing his balance while running. His classmates don't mind, in keeping with the program's teaching of collaboration & mutual acceptance of all regardless of circumstance.
Isaac, the school principal, describes Hekima as “a student who will be a good future leader.” As for Hekima himself, he finds that "classroom learning and Sport for Peace activities push me to socialize with my classmates. [With them] I feel equal and happy despite my physical condition."
Hekima’s story reflects the successful impact our program has had on the lives of children living in the remote, underserved village of Rwenena. We invest in them to provide a chance to break the cycle of poverty through the power of education. Vulnerable families—whose children would not otherwise attend school—are instilled with a newfound sense of pride. Receiving uniforms, school supplies, and book bags provide tangible evidence of students’ newfound status [i](see photos).[/i]
[font=sans-serif]Hekima and his father inside their home[/font]
[font=sans-serif]Hekima is happy to receive his school materials when he began in fall 2016.[/font]
[font=sans-serif]Hekima’s mother pours water into the family cooking pot[/font]
[font=sans-serif]Children looking in the doorway of Hekima’s hut[/font]