The Old and The New: Children Entering RDDC’s Rwanda Program

Kigali, Rwanda

July 9, 2012

Ssali Joseph Eugene

This month, new children arrived at FIDESCO and entered into our Dance/IT program.  In our classes, we have 17 of the 20 children who began with us (2 have left FIDESCO and 1 RDDC has sponsored to go to boarding school).  Now, we have 20 new children as well.

Our dance studio is not large enough to accommodate all of these kids at once, so we were offered another classroom for the program and now we have two classes every day: one for the regular students, and the other for the new children.  As a teacher in the program, this gave me a good picture that RDDC is doing work that is growing here in Rwanda.

When you enter the two classes, you can immediately see the difference; there’s a big difference between our regular students and our new students.  This new class reminds me of the old class – how it was at the beginning.  These children fight all the time. They are impatient, and are always coming in and out of the room.  One day, they tell me how much they love to dance, and the next day, they come to me claiming to be sick.

Some kids at the beginning of our program were not interested in it at all.  As time went by, they started coming to watch what was going on “with the dance program.”  They would watch through the windows, and after a few days, they would decide to come in and join the program.  One such child is named “Valens” .

I thought that Valens would be like the others: come once and then miss some times, but ever since he started, he has come and never missed a class. He is the one who carries drinking water for his fellow students and is ready to try anything that you tell him to do.

There’s a great impact that has been done in their lives.  There’s a change.  If it weren’t for their same clothes – the ones that they put on every day – you wouldn’t realize that some of these kids once lived on the streets.

Ssali Joseph Eugene is one of the Rwandan RDDC dance instructors that leads the FIDESCO program.  He is a contemporary dancer and frequently organizes performances in Kigali.