Celestin's Story

In 1994, my sister and I lost our parents during the war to liberate Rwandans from the genocide against the Tutsis. After struggling in harsh conditions, I moved to the streets where I spent 5 years living outside and struggling for my basic needs.  While on the streets, I happened to meet with Danie Roberson, a volunteer who came to Rwanda from Switzerland. He founded a center in 1998 to help street children through the Rwanda Presbyterian Church (EPR). The Center is called Centre Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes (CPAJ), meaning Presbyterian Center of Love for the Youth

With the help of UNICEF and the Rwandan Government, in 1999, I was admitted into the center and moved out of the streets. It is in this center that I started gaining back my hope. I am a former street child who received a hand up and I am now ready to share my story to inspire others.

I have a gift, I’m an artist. After getting some training to wake my art up, I was hired by an NGO in Kigali as their arts coordinator. Today, I am proudly a CEO, Rwandan artist, singer/songwriter, photographer, dancer and filmmaker. I am also a graduate of the Kwetu Film Institute in Kigali. 

My goal is to be a role model to street children. Through my life path, I have seen the possibilities for children when they are given support from adults and access to opportunities. I want to let young people who find themselves on the streets know that there is a better life out of the streets. I want to mentor street children and make them realize that there is potential in each and every person and that if you work hard on it, you become successful. I also want to have real discussions with the youth of Rwanda about the dangers of street life. I want youth to understand that if they leave their parents for a better life on the streets, they will meet a harsh reality. 

I hope I can be a good example of a person who is now rising from the middle of nowhere and I proudly want to inspire others. I want to do this through my film, Hope for the Future. It is a docu-drama based on my life. I am in need of financial assistance to get this project off the ground. I have the inspiration, ideas and motivation and am looking for support of the international community in realizing my dream. Please consider contributing to the project through this blog.