Felestian’s story demonstrates what is possible when these kids in Gateko are given an opportunity to succeed. Shelter Them first met Felestian in 2016, on a visit by the team from Canada. At the time, he seemed the saddest boy you could imagine. He and his younger brother Yohana were living with an elderly aunt, who was doing her best to care for the boys after their mother had died and their alcoholic father had abandoned them. When authorities found the boys on the street, they were in terrible shape. They were malnourished and had parasites burrowing into their feet. Their aunt, who was living in Gateko, agreed to take in the boys, even though she was having trouble even taking care of herself. Felestian looked like a boy who would never smile again.
Today, he is smiling. When the Shelter Them team returned to Rwanda in 2018, Felestian looked like a boy transformed. He and Yohana are healthy now, thanks to a better diet, medical care, and a more secure homelife. And we could see the pride he felt when the team was told that he had achieved the highest marks in his class that school year. Yohana finished with the second highest grades in his younger class. The boys didn’t just smile, they were beaming.
This is what can happen when these youngsters are given an opportunity to succeed. This is how Shelter Them can transform lives. With your generosity, we will continue to see these lives change, one child at a time.