Athanasie Dusabemariya is a 24 year old girl, who lost her father when she was very young. She and her four siblings remained under the care of their mother, who was struggling daily to make ends meet. She shared her story below:

When my father died in the 1994 war and genocide against the Tutsi, my siblings and I were very young. My mother did various odd jobs to try and provide for us. She did all she could, but it was difficult for her to give each of us all what we needed, and we struggled to meet our basic needs. It came to a point where she could not pay our school fees anymore, and as a result, I dropped out of school in level 4 of secondary school (10th Grade).

For 5 years, I stayed at home, taking care of my siblings, and occasionally working with my mother, with the odd jobs she picked up. I lost hope of ever returning to school. My heart was always heavy, wishing I could go to school like my friends, and others my age. It felt like a hopeless situation!

One morning, I went to a church service, and heard an announcement that the Center for Champions was recruiting children and youth school dropouts from very poor families. I woke up very early the next day and I went to register at the Center. I was so fortunate to be recruited, and a short while after registration, I started attending training. At first, I was so excited and it all felt like a happy dream, I didn’t want to wake from! I am so thankful to the Center and to African Enterprise and it’s supporters, for making this dream a reality.

I now regularly attend training classes in the hairdressing option. I want to learn as much as I can, so that I can serve as many customers as possible, once I start working. Besides training in hairdressing, we are also receiving training in entrepreneurship skills, with an emphasis on job creation, so that we can start our own businesses once we are through with the training. In addition, we also receive the word of God from different speakers and evengelists and this is strengthening my Christian faith day by day.

I no longer look at a dark future, but a very bright one. I have been lifted from the ashes of hopelessness! I know that after completing my training, I will be able to earn a living in a decent way, and be able to support my mother and family.

I’m deeply grateful to the management of the Center for Champions as well as all the sponsors, who support vulnerable children and youth like me, to have new hope for a bright future. May God bless you so much!

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