Story of the month: Jean Claude

Eight years ago Jean Claude was 10 years old and sleeping in the bushes of Batsinda. Today, he is a young man, with hopes, dreams, friends, a family and a future. We want to tell you the story of the transformation of his life. 

In 2015 a group of young boys in Batsinda, Rwanda, were found sleeping in a dump. Out of that, the Street Kids Rescue Project of Batsinda was born. One of the boys on that day was Jean Claude. He was shy, wary and untrusting. It became clear that his was a tragic story. Never knowing his mother, having died when he was a baby, his father was an absent drunkard and young Jean Claude had no idea where he was. He was left to fend for himself on the streets, surrounded by a culture of crime, drug and alcohol addiction and fear. He had never once in his life been to school. He had no medical insurance and suffered frequent illness. When asked by the Comfort Rwanda team what his dream was, it was to be a car mechanic and drive a car. 

10-year old Jean Claude
The boys from Batsinda were found living in awful conditions in 2015

Jean Claude was provided with a safe place to stay, regular meals, medical insurance and the opportunity to go to school for the first time in his life. 

In 2019 he told us of his love for school, When I’m at school my life becomes sweet because I play with other children but especially my classmates. I like these following subjects: English, Kinyarwanda, Social studies and Maths.  School is nice place to be.” Compared to the dumps and wildernesses where he’s been surviving, school was a very nice place to be. 

In a letter to his sponsor, John, Jean Claude wrote about meeting the Comfort International team from Scotland and the excitement that this had generated within the whole project. I’ve been doing good and enjoying going to school every day and we are almost at the end of 2nd trimester. I’m doing more revision because we have the exams very soon. It has been amazing since we’ve had a team of visitors from Scotland and I felt very happy to see them. They did amazing work for us like painting our project house and they built a water tank stand which looks extremely beautiful. Apart from that I’ve had new black shoes from the first team of visitors which is helpful for me […] I love you!”

Jean Claude in 2019 - what a transformation!

Our most recent report from Jean Claude is a wonderful testament to how his life and prospects have changed. Now 18 years old, he has recently returned from boarding school with a vocational qualification. He has been reintegrated with his family and living with his grandparents and cousins. We think he tells it best, 

I was together with around 7 boys from Comfort Rwanda Street projects in a boarding school, around 300km from the project, where I have been getting trained in farming and both reading and writing skills. Now, I am back at Batsinda planning my life ahead using my skills to prepare the future. I have missed so many of the boys but still thankful how I was welcomed back at the project after almost a year away. At the school we got regular support from the project including clothes, hygiene materials and school materials. 

The project used sometimes to send the education program officer (his name is Pastor Emmanuel) to visit us at the school and check if we need anything to keep us concentrating on studies. As well as Pastor Emmanuel, various people from the project continued visiting us and we are happy to return home with great welcome.

Something good about going to study in a boarding school; actually some of us struggled to stop drugs and other street behaviours because the life we knew before joining the project was causing trouble for people on streets. For me, joining the boarding school helped me to heal completely from alcoholism and other street behaviours. The Batsinda project is right near the centre where we used to live, and meeting street gangs regularly was unhelpful in changing behaviour. Now I am happy that I am better and no longer interested to go on street anymore. And I feel free to share my difficulties than I used before.”

With friends back at the Comfort Rwanda offices
The boarding school cohort with their vocational training certificates of competence
Dear John (sponsor): thank you for transforming my life
Jean Claude in 2022
The young men who were once sleeping on the streets and eating scraps, together now giving thanks to God for the food.
Receiving a visit from Comfort Rwanda while at boarding school

a little can change a life