Viola is a typical seventeen-year-old. She likes to take pictures, dance, and hang around with her friends. But, Viola is also a brilliant girl, joyful and full of life. She tells us, “My favourite subject is science, and I’m always excited whenever I’m solving a math problem.”
This has not always been the case. Growing up, she was a reserved child. She would never be seen around other children, playing or having fun, rather keeping to herself.
After losing both her parents at three years old, Viola was brought to Youth for Christ’s orphanage Homes of Hope (HOH), by a relative who could no longer take care of her. Her fear of abandonment deepened, which made her distrust everyone.
Despite having a home, being nurtured, and given an education, something was missing in her. Many times, she wanted to leave. Emmanuel, one of the HOH caregivers, explains: “These kinds of situations happen a lot of the time. But we always try to show them love as much as we can. These kids have horrific backgrounds, which cause them to react a certain way. So the best way for us is to be there for them through it all.”
Her transformation came about when she was introduced to a telescope. Thomas, a physicist from Canada, had come to stay for a few months at HOH as a volunteer. “I had never seen a telescope ever in my life,” Viola explained, “One night, Thomas took me outside and showed me the stars”. She was ten years old at the time.
At first, she wanted to become an astronaut, but as the years went by, she realised that her dream might not be feasible, but she still hopes to experience space. Some day she wishes to visit NASA.
Viola will complete her high school next year and hopes to continue her studies in physics or mathematics.
Like many children in Homes of Hope, she is grateful to have had the opportunity of studying and living a good life she would never have imagined.
Viola’s favourite thing to do is help her siblings do their homework, and she hopes to be a good role model to all the children at Homes of Hope.
Homes of Hope is run by GLO partner Youth for Christ and has truly been raising a generation of godly leaders for the transformation of society. With over fifty children, Homes of Hope is one of the best orphanages in Gitega province. They have not only provided shelter, but with their other programmes, such as Future Hope Schools and Shammah Health Centre, they have provided healthcare and education in a safe and nurturing environment.