The letter below was written to the staff at ASYV by Alain Munyaburanga who is responsible for Education and Training. Alain has been with ASYV since the construction phase of the village.

Many times we wonder if what we do in Agahozo-Shalom, with the kids, will have a lasting impact. Many times a kid or a family in Agahozo-Shalom does something that shows us that what we do does matter; more than we know or can witness.

We just finished one of those activities that proves to me what we do is paramount in the lives of the majority of our kids. Today was the voting day for Mister and Miss Core Value for each grade. During Thursday family time, we started with a discussion on core values. The kids discussed what the core values are and why they are important in their lives.

During Friday village time, a presentation was given to everyone in the village on the 7 core values of Agahozo-Shalom. Above and beyond good grades, having values is more important. Having values are what will allow you to have a job and keep it, to have a friend and keep her/him, to be respected in the community you live in and so on.

On Sunday every family elected their Mister or Miss Core Value based on how she/he lived with the other kids. Today each grade elected one Mister and Miss Core Value among those that had been selected in their respective families. The kids who were elected are those kids who really live the 7 core values.

The event had a dual purpose. The first purpose was to remind the kids of our core values and to acknowledge those live them every day. The second purpose was to educate the kids on the election process. In a country that has only voted democratically twice in its existence, there is a need for educating its citizens why you vote for a particular candidate or person.

It was a wonderful event. The group I was in, Urumuli grade, one kid asked the 8 candidates to identify the 7 ASYV core values and explain the reason the village has them in place. Listening to the candidates answer this question reminded me why we do what we do. One candidate said: “many of us never had a chance to inherit values from our parents. The village is our family and believes it is important for its kids to have values. This is why these values were put in place”.

It has been a month since we welcomed our fourth grade to ASYV. I know that it has been a hard month with people getting back into the day to day life in the village after two months away. But it has been a successful month as well. Many of us were scared of having 500 kids in the village and solving all the issues that come up on a daily basis; but we have done a marvelous job.

I would like to thank you all for what you do on a daily basis at ASYV. If you had any doubts about the impact you have in these kids’ lives, please remember the reason one of them gave above. I wish that we all achieve more with our kids during the month of February than we have achieved in January. Only by constantly improving on what we do, will we build a strong community of nation builders out of our kids in Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.