Meet Nicholas Navarro, ASYV trip participant & Fundraiser Extraordinaire!

Meet Nicholas Navarro, ASYV trip participant & Fundraiser Extraordinaire!

Nicholas Navarro joined the University of Pennsylvania Hillel's service learning trip to ASYV this past May for an unforgettable week exploring the Village and Rwanda.

Nicholas is the highest fundraiser of any service trip participant in 2017 to date. We caught up with Nicholas to hear more about his experience visiting the Village and his tips on how to be a successful peer-to-peer fundraiser. 

Sam's Story

Sam's Story

Is it true that humanity can be restored? Is it possible to turn an angry face, depression, and broken heart into a smiling face, happiness and a healing heart to save the community? Why do we have mercy for others who are suffering? How does love to create friendship arise? What does it take to realize our dreams? These questions can be answered by my brief story describing my life changes at ASYV in four years.

LIFT HER UP - A NEW Female Empowerment Initiative

LIFT HER UP - A NEW Female Empowerment Initiative

Giving back to her community is one of the things she puts first in her journey. Peace Grace Muhizi is a graduate of Agahozo Shalom Youth Village and she is currently schooling in Atlanta, Georgia at Agnes Scott College. This summer, she came back to Rwanda with an aim of interning in a public organization and also giving back to her community, more specifically the youth village that raised her to be who she is today.

Meet Our Newest Staff!

June 25, 2017

Souvenir Alphonsine, Learning & Development Coordinator

Souvenir grew up in the Western province of Rwanda where she attended high school. After high school, she went on to study Clinical Psychology at the National University of Rwanda. Since 2010, Souvenir has been working with organizations including Africa in Land Mission, WHY WAIT Projects, and the International Justice Mission (IJM). In 2015, she was admitted to the College of Medicine and Health Sciences' School of Public Health and is due to graduate in August with a Master's Degree in Public Health.

Souvenir joined ASYV in April 2017 this year as Learning and Development Coordinator of the Parental Wholeness department. In her role, she works hand in hand with Family Mothers to improve the lives of the kids in the Village and the alumni that have graduated. She facilitates trainings for the Mamas and other educators in the domain of adolescent psychology, parenting skills, and trauma-focused therapy.

"In my role, I hope to work with the family mothers to heal the wounds of kids who have experienced trauma in a holistic way," she says. "I aim to identify the strengths and weaknesses for intervening in any kid’s case. I hope to help in raising kids that feel they are worthy of being and who will serve Rwandan society as good citizens."

Christian Muhawenimana, Instructional Coach

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Christian Muhawenimana is an educator whose more recent experience as an English and Leadership Instructor has made him a first-hand witness to how learner-centered approach and competency-based education has resulted in a total paradigm shift in matters related to education in his native Rwanda. From August 2015 until the time he joined ASYV, Christian served as English and Leadership Instructor at Akilah Institute for Women.

Prior to joining the Akilah Insititute for Women, Christian worked for the famous ULK (Kigali Independent University) as an English Language Lecturer, a position he held after serving as the National Executive Secretary for ARDE/KUBAHO and as the Executive Director of COFORWA, two local non-profit organizations that focus on water supply, sanitation and hygiene education.

Christian has also worked for a year at Water For People, a US-based NGO focusing on ensuring that all the world’s people have access to safe drinking water and sanitation. At Water For People-Rwanda, Christian served as a sociologist for the Rulindo Challenge Program in the Rulindo District of Northern Province in Rwanda. Among his duties was conducting needs assessments for new water supply projects. As he began to see the impact of clean water and sanitation, Christian became increasingly passionate about the cause. He championed implementation of the Kisaro Water Supply Project, which would provide access to clean water for nearly 18,000 people in the district’s Kisaro Sector, and played a vital role in needs assessment, community mobilization and documentation. He also helped in socio-economic identification for new water supply projects in the district’s Burega and Ntarabana sectors.

Prior to his involvement with clean water and sanitation projects, Christian – who received a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts with Education (B.A Ed with a specialization in English and literature) from the Kigali Institute of Education – enjoyed a six-year career in education. He taught English and literature in numerous schools in the Kigali area, including the FAWE Girls’ School, Kacyiru Islamic School, Glory Secondary School, and AIPR Nyandungu. Christian served as headmaster of College APEGIRUBUKI, a private secondary school in the Gicumbi District, and taught English in different schools up-country, including Nyamata St. Francois Xavier Secondary School-APEBU, Ecole Secondaire de Gaseke, Ecole Secondaire de Bukure, and Ecole Secondaire de Kageyo. A renowned English language teacher mentor, he worked for the Ministry of Education training teachers in the Nyabihu and Gasabo Districts as part of the English for Teaching/English for Teachers program.

After six years in education, Christian went to work in the Parliament of Rwanda in the Chamber of Senate. He credits his experience in taking minutes for Parliamentary sessions with strengthening his skills in writing, communication and working under tight schedules.

Christian is finalizing a Master's Degree in Educational Management and he hopes that it will equip him with new skills to support his role at ASYV. Before he turns 40, Christian hopes to get a PhD in Adolescent Education. He is very passionate about teacher capacity development, project management, public relations and communication, fundraising and advocacy; and international relations. His burning desire is to become a school principal for a famous school one day.

Joselyne Umwariwase, Senior Nurse

Joselyne Umwariwase is from the Rulindo district in the Northern Province of Rwanda. This is where she began her career as a nurse at Kinihira hospital.

"I like working with children and I especially find it impactful to help those who are suffering and need special attention," explains Joselyne. "I wanted to offer my contribution to accomplish the vision and mission of ASYV."

In her role as Senior Nurse, Joselyne provides clinical and managerial leadership to ASYV's nursing and support staff. In addition, she helps to bridge communication between patients, family mothers and other family educators, and psychosocial workers, and she is responsible for the planning, implementation, evaluation, and follow up care plans of ASYV's 523 teens. 

Spotlight: Meet our Alumni

Spotlight: Meet our Alumni

Alumni’s name: NIYONSHIMA Patrick

Alumni’s graduation month/year: January, 2014 – Imbuto grade

What was your life like before ASYV?

Before I came to the ASYV, I lived in a nearby village with my three brothers and my father. My mother had passed away shortly after the Genocide due to Genocide-related traumas. My father decided not to remarry and instead focused on taking care of my brothers and I. Prior to ASYV, I attended Catholic school, where I struggled to maintain good grades and achieve academic success. When I was recruited to the Village, I didn’t have a good understanding as to what ASYV was but I looked forward to the opportunity to improve in school. 

Introducing MEAL

Introducing MEAL

This is the first year Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning (MEAL) has been fully implemented at ASYV. We’re learning so much about our students and programs, and starting to make some exciting changes!

For the first time, the MEAL team collected baseline data on all new students. Baseline data includes recruitment data, answers to the Intake form completed by students’ guardians on their first day, information from students’ physical and psychosocial evaluations, and their answers to two surveys, DAP (Developmental Asset Profile) and KAP (Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices) administered in their first few weeks at ASYV.

Exploring Rwandan Entrepreneurship with TechnoServe

Exploring Rwandan Entrepreneurship with TechnoServe

One of the best parts of being a student at ASYV is the opportunity to apply skills and information you learn in the classroom to the real world. ASYV’s Entrepreneurship program is one of the strongest examples of this.

This week, the Senior 6 (equivalent to high school seniors) students got the chance to go on an Entrepreneurship Field Trip with Technoserve, our partner that created and helped facilitate ASYV’s Entrepreneurship program. This was a special occasion for the kids, not just because it was a chance to leave the Village, but also because it was an opportunity to see how to turn your business ideas into a reality.

Uniting Around Our ASYV Sisters, Mamas, and all the Women in our Lives

Uniting Around Our ASYV Sisters, Mamas, and all the Women in our Lives

600 people standing in a line on the top of the school’s hill, looking down on the vast expanse of Mugasera Lake, the distant hills and our home, ASYV. Heads held high and standing tall: staff, Village Management, guests and students begin the steep procession down to the dining hall in a walk of solidarity for an important cause. International Women’s Day happens once a year. It’s a time to bring both girls and boys together to celebrate the successes of women and reflect on the significance of how women shape and define society.

In a loving memory of my brother, Jean Robert Rudakubana!

In a loving memory of my brother, Jean Robert Rudakubana!

Last week, ASYV tragically lost a family member, ASYV graduate, Robert Rudakubana. Robert was a caring friend and brother who lit up our lives.

Classmate, Fred Mutangana remembers Robert in the dedication below.

It is hard to find the words to describe how I feel now that you are gone, but I thank God for bringing you into my life. For the past 4 years of high school I got to sit next to you in the same room and same classes since we both had the Maths, Physics, and Computer Science (MPC) combination. Everyday I appreciated your love, courage and helping heart. Since I have known you, you were smiling, encouraging of others, and giving out your help for others to achieve their dreams.

What Does a Hero Look Like to You?

What Does a Hero Look Like to You?

February 1st marks Heroes’ Day in Rwanda. This annual public holiday commemorates the national heroes from Rwanda’s past. Here at ASYV, this day is particularly special because it is a time for us to celebrate and remember our founder, Anne Heyman, who three years ago passed away from a tragic horse riding accident.

In her honor, and the honor of other past heroes, we reflected on what being a hero truly means. Heroes don’t come in one standard packaging – they come in people of different ages, genders, ethnicities, nationalities and economic backgrounds. As a family, we find a hero in the sister who helps us achieve good grades in school, the older student who motivates us to try new things or the brother who watches out for us when we are sick.

School’s Back in Session

School’s Back in Session

We officially have a full house at ASYV! Yesterday, amid rainstorms and traffic countrywide as boarding students return to their schools, our Senior 4 and Senior 5 grades trickled in through the front gates. We celebrated their return with a Special Edition Village Time attended by JC, our Executive Director, and our special guest, Board Chair, Laurie Franz - who we are lucky to have here for the start of school. 

Health and Wellness Screening Week with our Visiting Nurses

Health and Wellness Screening Week with our Visiting Nurses

A new year brings many new exciting things! For the Health and Wellness Center (H&W), it means we have 128 new students to care for and watch grow over the next 4 years! It is such a joy to watch our students thrive during their time here. Year after year, we watch kids grow taller and wiser. We have no doubt our new students will be no exception.

A Path Forward with English Enrichment

A Path Forward with English Enrichment

It's officially been three weeks since our Enrichment Year students arrived at ASYV. And what a three weeks it’s been! Relationships continue to become stronger and stronger within the families, and friendships have formed across the grade. Kids lovingly refer to one another as “brother” or “sister”, which is just one of the many magical components of ASYV. And, there is certain level of trust amongst the students and the staff, which in many cases, is a new concept for these kids.

In addition to getting to know one another, the weeks before the older grades arrive at the Village are utilized to teach English Enrichment and Computer Literacy classes.