Edison doesn’t know when his birthday is, but he thinks he is around 19 years old. He is a proud member of the Gasanze Street Kids Rescue Project in Rwanda, soon due to graduate. He has been undergoing training to ride and repair bicycles, and hopes to soon be a licensed bicycle taxi driver, which will allow him his own financial freedom and independence. He says, “Once I complete the bicycle training I hope to be in a position where I can purchase my own bicycle and join a bicycle taxi cooperative where I will be able to earn a living as a bicycle taxi driver.”
When Edison was around 14 years old, he was living on the dump in Gasanze. For him, it was a better option than living at home with his parents and 6 siblings, where he frequently suffered physical and verbal abuse. His parents could not afford the uniform or fees needed for education, so he dropped out of school at Primary 4. He often fell sick because of the spoiled and contaminated food that he had to eat, which came from rifling through whatever he and his friends could find on the dump. Despite all of this, Edison was just a normal boy who liked to tell funny stories and play football with the other boys. He came to Gasanze project looking for a better life where he could have access to safe, fresh drinking water and food, as well as health care and, most importantly for him, where he could achieve his dream of going back to school to continue his education. When he first arrived, he said he wanted to eventually become Mayor of the sector, so he could make sure that street kids are better looked after.
Recently, Edison wrote a letter to his sponsor, Lorna, telling her about how his life has changed since the time he came onto the project:
Dear Lorna, I thank you so much for having supported me when I was a lot younger and still living on the dump. Your love and support for me helped me leave the dump and become part of the project. I was able to live at the project house in the early days, I was able to go back to school and eat wholesome food instead of scavenging for food on the dump. As a result of joining the project my mindset completely changed between how I used to think before and how I think now. I am a completely changed boy. There are many things that I abandoned. I stopped taking drugs and many things that were causing me not to be a responsible boy. But now I am so changed and so determined to start a bicycle taxi business.
I am so grateful for the project, for the advice and the ideas they have always provided me with to be the boy who I am today. I was using weed, cigarettes, alcohol mixed with thinner. Now I have stopped taking all these things. You have helped me to change all those bad habits.
One day I wish that I could meet you and thank you face to face. Although I have never met you I will continue to give God thanks for putting you in my life. Thank you so much for your ongoing love and support.
Much love, Edison*
Through his own determination and hard work, as well as the compassionate and faithful giving of sponsor Lorna, and ultimately the grace of God upon his life, Edison’s life has been radically changed, and he now looks to the future with hope and expectation. If you are interested in sponsoring someone like Edison, please consider a monthly donation which will supply food, health care, education fees and much more for a young person in need.
a little can change a life
*name changed to protect identity