The New Times (Kigali)
July 20, 2006
Posted to the web July 21, 2006
Street children will soon have an opportunity to gain vital training skills to enable them earn a living once a school called ‘Centre for Champions’ is completed. This was revealed by Antoine Rutayisire, the Executive Secretary of African Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE) – Rwanda, while at a function to lay a foundation stone for the school at the site in Rwamagana District, this week.
The centre is to be built with the assistance of Tracy and Greg Stone, from the First Presbyterian Church of Belview in the United States of America.
‘We decided to call this centre one for champions because we are positive thinkers. We want it to be a centre for excellence. We want these street children to discover their purpose in life through this centre, pursue it, achieve it and excel in it,’ Rutayisire said.
According to Rutayisire, they intend to construct recreational facilities like a football pitch, basketball and volleyball courts and other recreational facilities.
‘This will also be a centre for spiritual and moral excellence,’ he added.
The centre will house a music and language school. A 600-seater hall and an internet café will be added to serve the community and the centre itself.
In a moving testimony, a former street child only identified as Eric told those present how he has risen from the streets to entertaining the President at Hotel Intercontinental.
Eric, now a renowned artiste, won awards for best song on the theme of HIV/Aids held last year.
Through music, he has been able to tour the country and has also just returned from the United States of America, where he attracted crowds with his moving message in his music.
"The project is to be funded by the First Presbyterian Church of Belview at a cost of US$900 000, of which US$650 000 has so far been raised," said Tracy Stone.
"We started a project to build a church back at home, but we also found it more meaningful if we could channel funds in taking on another project simultaneously. This is how this idea of constructing this centre, sold to us by Antoine Rutayisire has evolved," she added.
Ms Stone came with a delegation of sixty three members from her church, who brought stones to be laid as part of the foundation.
As a sign of partnership, they will take stones from Rwanda back to the USA, to be part of their church foundation, she said.
The Chairman of the AEE Board, Bishop Onesphore Rwaje thanked Rwanda partners for the trust they put in his organisation.
He urged the local people and the local authorities to care for the centre, as it is meant for them.
Representing the Provincial governor, the mayor of the district Valens Ntezirembo, thanked AEE for its partnership and pledged to assist the organisation in its efforts to build the centre.