Tikkun Olam in Action on Patients’ Day

Thursday, March 15th was Patients’ Day in Rwanda. All over the country hospitals and social services spent the day organizing events to lift up and deliver hope to people in need of healing.

Agahozo-Shalom’s Healthy Living Group spent the week leading up to the event gathering donations from among the Village community to be delivered to the local Rwamagana Hospital.

On the day of the event, the Healthy Living group piled into a bus with bags of clothes, laundry detergent, and over 100,000 Rwandan Francs raised from the ASYV community.

When asked what it meant to be at Patients’ Day, student Mukeshimana Ange answered, "It's a pleasure to be here and to help the people who are sick. I'm giving something that they need, soap and clothing. I'm here to see how people react. To help them not be worried, to encourage them." Ange later performed in a sketch along with other Healthy Living Group members. "The sketch is to encourage," she said.

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Meet Deborah and Amiga

As Enrichment Year students, Deborah and Amiga may have only just arrived in the Village, but this hasn't stopped them from jumping into Village life head first.  By supporting ASYV's female empowerment initiatives and participating in Tikkun Olam, they are embracing their new family.


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UncategorizedMercedes McGee
ASYV Students celebrate their heroes on rwanda's national heroes' day

Heroes' Day arrived with a bright blue morning, the fresh air greeting the Agahozo Shalom community and our guests. Everyone began the day assembled underneath the mango tree. It was a good place to start the day as the mango tree is the site of one of the most heroic moments in ASYV history, when Village founder Anne Heyman purchased the surrounding land from 96 different land owners in order to build the village.

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An ASYV New Year's

New Year's Eve at Agahozo-Shalom was as unique as it was wonderful. It was so special to celebrate the changing of the calendar with the new Enrichment Year students at the Village. Preparations for the event began almost as soon as the students arrived.

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A New Beginning: the 2018 Enrichment Year Students Arrive

On opening day for the Enrichment Year students, the ASYV journey begins for more than 120 students who arrive from throughout Rwanda's 30 districts. From near and far, they came to a bus stop in Rwamagana, from where they were shuttled to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. Some of the students traveling from the Western Provinces took motorbikes to Kigali and spent the night in the city before making the trip. All were met by Village mothers and ASYV staff who were eager to welcome the new students and their guardians. Each was greeted with warm hugs, and arms grasping forearms. One by one the students piled into the Village buses to be transported down through a valley of rice fields and farms and up onto the ridge where ASYV is located. The buses pulled into the gates of ASYV, past the colorful walls painted with the words “If you see far, you will go far,” and stopped at the dining hall. The students and guardians unloaded from their shuttles and began signing in with staff at tables on the balcony of the dining hall.

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Events, StudentsMercedes McGee
Anne's vision for me, and all of Rwanda

I was one of the first students to enter, and graduate from, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village.

In ten years, I went from bottom-of-the-pyramid poverty to a fully-funded high school education and before going on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania.

When I was two years old, the genocide in Rwanda took away my chance to be raised by parents. I became an orphan and grew up in poverty. My grandmother raised me in a one bedroom hut, with a dirt floor, a leaking roof, no electricity, and no water. I would fetch water twice a day walking a total of three miles each trip. The world seemed unfair and I had no hope for change because education was not guaranteed in Rwanda. Needless to say, things turned out differently. At 17, I was selected from among the poorest students in my village to be admitted into Agahozo-Shalom.

There I met Anne Heyman, my hero and inspiration, who constantly reminded us that the future is as big as we want it to be.

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AlumniMercedes McGee2017
Meet Nicholas Navarro, ASYV trip participant & Fundraiser Extraordinaire!

Nicholas Navarro joined the University of Pennsylvania Hillel's service learning trip to ASYV this past May for an unforgettable week exploring the Village and Rwanda.

Nicholas is the highest fundraiser of any service trip participant in 2017 to date. We caught up with Nicholas to hear more about his experience visiting the Village and his tips on how to be a successful peer-to-peer fundraiser. 

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Sam's Story

Is it true that humanity can be restored? Is it possible to turn an angry face, depression, and broken heart into a smiling face, happiness and a healing heart to save the community? Why do we have mercy for others who are suffering? How does love to create friendship arise? What does it take to realize our dreams? These questions can be answered by my brief story describing my life changes at ASYV in four years.

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LIFT HER UP - A NEW Female Empowerment Initiative

Giving back to her community is one of the things she puts first in her journey. Peace Grace Muhizi is a graduate of Agahozo Shalom Youth Village and she is currently schooling in Atlanta, Georgia at Agnes Scott College. This summer, she came back to Rwanda with an aim of interning in a public organization and also giving back to her community, more specifically the youth village that raised her to be who she is today.

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