The 1994 genocide destroyed Rwanda’s fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women and children, and eroded the country’s ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made significant progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy since then.
Continued growth in this area depends on the maintenance of international aid levels, the strengthening of world prices of coffee and tea, and on having strong future leaders with good character — something Compassion Rwanda is in the forefront of helping develop.
In a recent interview, Pastor Matthias, parish priest of Gahanga Anglican Church, expressed his views on how sponsorship can influence the political arena of his country.
Pastor Matthias is the head teacher of Gahanga primary school, which is a church-owned school, and his church also runs a Compassion-assisted child development center, Gahanga Student Center.
“Sponsorship has a vital role not only in changing the lives, standards and status of our children, but in developing future Rwandans who will be able to change and develop the country in different spheres such as: political, spiritual, economic and social.
“Spending most of my time with children has helped me to discover their different ambitions and talents. I can testify that I have ministers and prominent future leaders who will be raised from this student center.”
When Pastor Matthias first arrived in Gahanga, he said that residents were hurting and helpless without hope for the future.
“As a Christian, I felt so convicted by scripture that I had to look for all possible means on how the community could gain hope for the future. And finally partnering with Compassion was the great opportunity the community could have.”
Pastor Matthias believes that mentoring children in the Christian aspect will help them to live an exemplary life, serving as God-fearing role models to society.
“I guarantee you that these children are to be tomorrow’s evangelists who will have good morals and will be of great value to our nation.
“In order to have a country with zero tolerance for corruption, with proper management of public resources, we need a big number of God-fearing citizens.”
Such children will be good participants in promoting the government’s strategies of good governance, social welfare and leadership with integrity.
“We are expecting a great change in our political organization as a country; our sponsored children have learned about stewardship and project management. This will make them good Christian leaders.
“There is absolutely no doubt that through sponsorship we have a number of stable decision-makers who have a great vision for the nation.”
Spiritually, the children are brought up as Christians who are to contribute to the improvement and development of their churches.
“I have observed the characters of these children in their communities; they are admired by many because of their behavior. This has increased the number of parents who have come to me asking how their children can be enrolled in our student center so as to attain good moral standards.”
Socially, solidarity through youth camps and youth forums such as peace and reconciliation help the children to live in harmony without any elements of ethnicity that lead to division.
“We expect our children to be responsible parents and citizens who will serve diligently both in their home and nation portraying Christian values.
“I have no doubt that our sponsored children will not only be catalysts for Rwanda’s development, but peacemakers to the entire world.”