Hope as the most important change

Liliane (11 years old) is one of the children in our programs. She lives with her parents and younger brother in Rwanda.

Liliane goes to school every day. She wants to become a doctor later, and her brother Fabrice wants to become a pilot. But this is not just the story of an eleven-year-old girl. Previously, there was no breakfast, no decent housing, and not enough money for a school uniform and textbooks. Fabrice stayed home because there was no preschool or kindergarten. “My primary school was far away,” Liliane says. “I had to walk three hours every day. It made my legs hurt. Most of the time, I hadn’t had breakfast, and I was often late for school.”

“I had to walk three hours every day. It made my legs hurt.”

Solane, Liliane’s mother, explains: “All the hard work we did on the land was not enough to meet our basic needs. And everyone in our community was in the same boat: not enough food for the children, not enough money for school… We had nowhere to turn, we were completely on our own. I didn’t know what else I could do to change our situation.”

Self-Help Group
Help a Child wants to break the vicious circle of poverty with village programs. Parents come together in Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to work on solutions. “The SHG has been our salvation,” says Solane. She has been a member of the group for three years now, and it has brought her a lot: “The most important thing is that we join forces. We save money together and because of that, I can borrow money to invest. All the small amounts of money we bring together make such a big difference. Before I didn’t know how to deal with problems, now I think in possibilities.”

A radiant family
Step by step, the residents of the area are breaking the poverty they live in. And it has an effect on the children! Liliane notices the difference: “Dad and mom can easily buy a school uniform and textbooks for me.” The local government saw the success of the preschool/kindergarten that came through the program and decided to build an elementary school. Liliane says: “Before, I used to come home very late and then I still had to do homework. Then it was difficult to get up very early the next morning to walk to school again. Now it’s nearby.” What a radiant family they are now!


There are still things the family struggles with, like the lack of water, but life is completely different for Liliane. Her parents see a way out of deep poverty, the total hopelessness has disappeared. That hope is the most important change of all. Mother Solane concludes: “I want my children to grow up healthy and finish their education. My dream is that they will go far!” Thanks to the village program of Help a Child, there is new perspective for Liliane, Fabrice, and their family. We believe that a child is only truly helped when the whole family is doing better. And poverty in families can only be overcome when an entire community changes along.