To be honest this is the first time I have ever written a blog!
My name is Doug and I moved to Kigali from Kenya in September 2009 to work for Save the Children. I was looking for weekend volunteer opportunities to help me get to know Rwanda and Rwandan culture and almost immediately I came across Evode and Ubaka U Rwanda.
At Ubaka U Rwanda I met a young and dedicated team of people giving up their time – and in the case of Evode devoting their entire lives – to assist vulnerable and abandoned children for no pay.
Over the past year I have spent most of my weekends at the centre and have become very good friends with Evode and Becky. Since then I have advised the team where I can on NGO management, funding and the general running of the centre. Although my role with Ubaka is purely personal and outside my work with Save the Children, over the last year I have become a friend and supporter to the boys. I hope that I have brought some of my professional experience and advice to help the charity in their mission of changing the lives of the boys.
One cannot fail to be taken in by Ubaka and boys on first impression.
The boys are so welcoming, friendly and inquisitive; it is hard not to immediately be inspired. It was very clear from day 1 that although the boys had been through experiences in the past that I will never truly be able to understand, they are desperate to turn their lives around and passionately striving for a better future. It was immediately clear that the boys were being well looked after with clothes, food, schooling, medical care and a loving and dedicated father-figure in Evode. Talking to Evode (his English was not brilliant back then but we managed), it was obvious he was as devoted to the boys and they were to him.
All I will say is that if the world was full of people like Evode it would be a significantly better place.
I was inspired to join the Ubaka team from day one. Things may not always be perfect, funding is a constant worry and the path from a street boy to an educated and ambitious young man is not always an easy journey. But together what Evode and Becky have created in Ubaka is something really special and unique. The difference between Ubaka U Rwanda and other charities is its donors and dedicated small team of workers. The impact on the boys is clear to see; just look at their school reports, talk to their teachers or better still ask them!