+ How many people live at ASYV and who are they?
Currently, Agahozo-Shalom is home to more than 500 young people ages 14-21. It employs approximately 150 educators and professionals to support the kids and the Village’s operations.
+ What are the background stories of the youth at ASYV?
The student body is comprised of vulnerable youth as defined by the World Bank and the government of Rwanda. This includes children who have been orphaned (according to the UNICEF definition), affected by armed conflict, served as head of household, lived on the street, lived in foster care, engaged in harmful or high-risk work, or suffered from sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
+ How are youth chosen to come to the Village?
The Village youth are selected from each of the 30 Rwandan districts. The Village tries to serve the most vulnerable students while selecting children who have the necessary internal capabilities to benefit from all that is offered in the Village. To reflect the special vulnerabilities of girls, 60% of our kids are female and 40% are male.
+ Do young people live at the Village full-time?
Yes, but they also return to their hometowns for school breaks throughout the year. Those who have no relatives or friends to stay with are encouraged to go home with friends or educators from the Village. We believe it is essential for our kids to maintain their ties to people and places outside the Village who have meaning in their lives. However, if a student feels they will be in danger returning home, they are encouraged to stay at the Village during breaks.
+ What will happen after the students graduate?
Many of our graduates have the potential to earn scholarships and attain university degrees. Others will use their education and skill-based training to find professions in which they can be self-sufficient. As part of their training, ASYV offers leadership and entrepreneurship classes, in partnership with Technoserve, to help students establish small businesses upon graduation. You can learn more about our alumni here.
+ How have Rwandan people/local communities responded to the project?
Rwandans on every level have embraced the philosophy behind the Village. The Village employs about 150 Rwandan staff in capacities ranging from directors to counselors to cooks, including agricultural day workers from the local community. ASYV has the approval of the Rwandan government and has been encouraged and assisted by many Rwandan ministries and dignitaries, including President Paul Kagame and the First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, both of whom have visited the Village.
+ How do different religions co-exist in the Village?
ASYV is a non-sectarian project and everyone is free to practice their own religions. The majority of the staff and young people in the Village are Christian, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Seventh Day Adventist; we also have some Muslim students and staff. Village youth have the option to attend worship services in the local town of Rubona.
+ Does the Village accept gifts-in-kind?
Our 500+ students receive everything from toothpaste to health insurance from the Village. The Village graciously welcomes in-kind donations directly to our site in Rwanda to support the needs of our youth. If you are planning a visit and wish to bring items to donate to the Village, please email firstname.lastname@example.org prior to your visit to obtain a list of the most current needs. Due to space restrictions, with the exception of gift cards, which are greatly appreciated, the Village can no longer accept gifts-in-kind to our New York City office.
+What about sending items directly to Rwanda?
It is difficult to send items directly to Rwanda, so ASYV relies on visitors to transport items.
+ How can I help?
Donating, fundraising, and awareness-raising are the most useful ways to help the youth of Agahozo-Shalom. There are also opportunities to support the Village by visiting. More information can be found here.