Agahozo-Shalom is one huge family, where past employees and students often return to give back to their community.

Last week, the original Director of Education, Training, and Philosophy, Shimon Solom Manzi returned to the Village to meet with the entire staff at ASYV in various brainstorming sessions. Together, we shared ideas about how the Village has changed, how to improve our programs and how to ensure that they are as reflective of our mission statement as possible, and any other learning challenges or experiences.  

Shimon began working for the Village in 2008 when ASYV was first being developed. Born in Ethiopia, but raised in Israel at Yemin Orde Youth Village, he has the unique perspective of having gone through a youth village system himself; and was the main individual responsible for designing the philosophy embedded into the Village today. 

Shimon did not just implement the framework of Yemin Orde, but worked together with the staff to adapt and improve this ideology, so that it could better succeed within Rwanda’s own culture and history. 

Through his guidance, four instrumental programs and principles became a part of Agahozo-Shalom:

  1. Tikkun Halev (healing the heart): A Hebrew term adopted into the ASYV mission, which focuses on supporting students in their journey toward self development and restoration from a traumatic past. 
  2. Tikkun Olam (healing the world): The idea that even the most vulnerable children have something to offer the world. Our students are empowered in numerous philanthropic initiatives to know they have the influence to change their community and country for the better. 
  3. DNA: A way of working with kids, as equals, with respect, in order to find solutions to mistakes or problems they have made. DNA stands for Discussion, Negotiation, and Agreement.  
  4. Individual Evaluation: Regular meetings among every department for every single child, to ensure that no one “falls through the cracks.”

Each year, the Village continues to expand and improve. As we continue to grow, ASYV will continually recommit to our original mission statement and purpose: to provide the most vulnerable with a healing and holistic environment. This is done through regular meetings and Village-wide collaboration to analyze, develop, and revise every aspect of the Village to best serve our students.  The Village was happy to welcome back Shimon for a week of reflection and review.  

Submitted by Shelby Sullivan, 2015 Village Fellow