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 Presbyt√©rien 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.