Salesians Expanding Centre in Rwanda’s Butare Diocese to Meet Street Children’s Needs

Some of the street youths who have benefitted from Salesian Centre in Rwanda/ Credit: Agenzia Info Salesiana (ANS)

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Rwanda’s Diocese of Butare are seeking to expand their street children Centre to meet the needs of the beneficiaries.

In a Thursday, April 22 report obtained by ACI Africa, SDB leadership in Rwanda says that one of the focus areas in the expansion plan of the Salesian Centre “is to give shelter and opportunity to street children who would otherwise spend their lives on the fringes of society.”

“They come from the street asking to eat, and many choose to stay to take vocational courses such as those for mechanics and shoemakers,” Fr. Remy Nsengiyumva, the Parish Priest of Salesian Parish in Rango where the Centre is located has been quoted as saying in the report, making reference to the youths living on the streets.

He adds, “We offer school supplies and uniforms, but the problem is food. Some, in fact, live completely on the street; others receive food in the host families. Still, others eat only in the evening when they study for technical courses. Making sure youth are fed is a primary concern.”

Towards resolving the feeding challenge, the Salesian Cleric says his parishioners are planning to set up a “small canteen” that will be used to prepare lunch meals for the youths, most of them having showed up at the Centre at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Since their companions have been treated well, now they come in large numbers,” Fr. Nsengiyumva says referencing the street youths and appeals to “all those who can to give us a hand” to do so to facilitate the expansion of the Centre.

Among the beneficiaries of the 25-year-old Centre is 16-year-old Kande, who, having been living on the streets of Butare since he was 10, approached the Salesians at the Parish “to ask for a piece of bread.”

In the report, Kande recalls his days on the streets saying, “Life was hard. Sometimes the police came to arrest us and took us to the Mbazi rehabilitation center, and we stayed there for about five months, and then, when you came back on the street, you struggled to even find a place to sleep.”

Another beneficiary of the Centre that also runs a vocational institute is Kande’s friend identified as Dakarai who was confined to begging on the streets after his mother murdered his father during a domestic quarrel.

His mother was imprisoned and he lived on the streets for 13 years, the April 22 report indicates in reference to Dakarai who is quoted as saying, “but now I have had the opportunity to study mechanics, thanks to the Salesians.”

More in Africa

“I’m grateful to the priests because they brought me to vocational training. Today I study mechanics with my peers, but we do not have everything we need. We lack school uniforms, and even shirts and shoes are hard to find due to poverty,” another beneficiary, Juvenal has been quoted as saying in the report by Mission Newswire, the information service of SDB.

Making reference to life at the Salesian Centre in Rwanda’s Diocese of Butare, Juvenal adds, “If you lack something to eat, you can put up with it and go back to school because you have a goal to achieve.”