A Compassion Alumnus Gives Back to His Community

I was born in Burundi, where my parents had migrated during to the 1959 war in Rwanda.

young man wearing a coat and tie

My father passed away when I was 2 years old and my mother was pregnant with my younger sister.

Life became very difficult for us because my mother was jobless and didn’t have support.

When I was 6, the 1994 Rwandan genocide started; at the same time there was also a war in Burundi. We were asking ourselves where to go because we could be killed in either country.

We stayed in Burundi. Then, when the genocide ended, we moved to Rwanda.

We arrived with nothing and found that our family members in Rwanda had been killed during the genocide. Life was difficult because we were starting a new life in a new country with nothing — and we didn’t have hope for the future.

The unforgettable day that led to a big change in my life is the day I was selected to be sponsored by Compassion International. Before this ministry, I could not afford a school uniform or school fees.

But with Compassion, my family became stable.

After primary school, I took the national exam and succeeded with good marks. I went on to secondary school.

I thought that the only way to improve my life was to work hard, and I was determined to do so. I wanted to pursue a career that would be meaningful.

I took biology and chemistry in secondary school because I wanted to become a dentist.

man in white smock holding a dental mockup

To do this I had to work even harder. I did my best not to disappoint myself, Compassion or my family who were striving to help me.

I completed secondary school with good marks, and the government awarded me to continue my studies at the Kigali Health Institute. I am now sponsored by the government as a student in dentistry.

I chose this profession purposefully because, when I was in secondary school, I suffered from oral disease. Through Compassion I received the care I needed and my oral disease was healed.

young man teaching a boy about dental hygiene

So I made the decision to work hard, study dentistry and learn about oral disease so I can make a difference in my country. Not only that, but I also want to go beyond the borders of Rwanda to help prevent such diseases and give the care to others that was given to me.

I have already started to give oral-health education classes to children at the Compassion-assisted Gakinjiro Student Center, and I want to continue helping at other child development centers.

classroom of children

I will never forget the great benefits I have received through Compassion International, so now and in the time to come, I will continue to enable others to enjoy the same advantages as I have.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurent Hategekimana is a former participant in the Compassion program and is studying dentistry at the Kigali Health Institute.

20 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Marci April 3, 2013

    What a wonderful story! It makes me so happy to hear of the impact that love and sponsorship can have in a child’s life. What a wonderful man you have become!

    May God Bless You Always!!!

  2. Bernadine February 27, 2013

    God Bless you, Laurent… and thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Susan February 18, 2013

    Laurent, your story is such an inspiration to sponsors and in turn the children we sponsor. God’s favor continue to be on you and your loved ones.

  4. Jaquelyn Scott December 26, 2012

    Laurent, are you familiar with the Kamonyi Student Center in Rwanda? I sponsor a 7yr old girl, Niyikwizerwa Agape. And, she goes there. Thank you for your inspirational post. And, hope you had a good Christmas.

  5. mkarlberg December 10, 2012

    Laurent, I sponsor a boy in Rwanda and his last name is the
    same as yours. Is it a common last name? or perhaps your
    related… just curious.
    You have a great story, keep up the good work

  6. Dear Laurant,Thank you for sharing this powerful and encouraging message that really shows God’s work.May His continue to reveal such even to other released children of Compassion. May 4, 2012

    William Bundugu
    Compassion International -Rwanda Office Staff & Former sponserd child like you!

  7. Deb L April 3, 2012

    Thank you, Laurent! That gives me such encouragement to hear how God has blessed you. May he use you for his glory and may you continue to know his peace and love.

  8. Kees Boer April 2, 2012

    This is a great story. I remember one of the tutors in CDI BO523 was also a dentist. He told me that when the children chew coca leaves, it protects their teeth. But the only negative is they would have green teeth.

  9. Alisa Shea April 2, 2012

    Laurent I am so proud of you and even more proud to be your friend. You are doing so well in your studies and are a sweet young man. You have my admiration. Your friend Alisa

  10. M. Warner April 2, 2012

    This story is such a glorious example of the positive and lifechanging interventions that Compassion International and their local church partners provide to the children of local communities around the world. It also demonstrates the impact of child sponsorship. I’m so glad that Laurent was able to share his story in this forum.

  11. Angie April 2, 2012

    Thank you for telling us your story of hope.

  12. Gail April 2, 2012

    We just never know how far reaching our sponsorship will go.

  13. Lori Mills April 2, 2012

    You are such an inspiration Laurent. Thank you for giving back to God by serving your community. Thank you for sharing Hope! Continued blessings to you and all of those you serve.

    1. Jackline Tumain May 21, 2017

      such an inspiration.

  14. Lynne April 2, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your story:) Also, thank you for giving so much to other children as you share your gift with them.

  15. Lizzie April 2, 2012

    What a great story! Way to go Laurent 🙂

  16. Garry April 2, 2012

    This is an awesome story for all sponsors who wonder about what their kids are doing after sponsorship. Keep up the good work Laurent.

  17. Kimmy April 2, 2012

    Hey Laurent! That is a very good post! I am very proud of you. I will try to contact you on FB when i am able for some reason my phone reset itself so I lost your number. 🙁 But, I miss talking to you.

    You friend,

    1. HATEGEKIMANA Laurent April 13, 2012

      Thank you ! God bless you !

      1. Kimmy April 13, 2012

        Your welcome. Oh. When you messaged me. (or flash as you call it) I was sleeping. I didnt get it till this morning. Sorry. I am in now online if you want to talk now.

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