[Province of Central Africa] Intiganda(1) Center is a center of the Brothers of Christian Schools which welcomes children and youth living on the streets and other young people in difficulty, those socially disadvantaged.
The document of the African Synod stated that, “The family is the sanctuary of life and a vital cell of society and of the Church. It is here that the features of a people take shape; it is here that its members acquire basic teachings. They learn to love inasmuch as they are unconditionally loved, they learn respect for others inasmuch as they are respected, they learn to know the face of God inasmuch as they receive a first revelation of it from a father and a mother full of attention in their regard. Whenever these fundamental experiences are lacking, society as a whole suffers violence and becomes in turn the progenitor of more violence.” Africae Munus n°42. We believe in the reality of these words especially in today’s world. During our experience at the Intiganda Center we discovered that many children leave their family because of problems such as: parental conflict, poverty, parents who are separated or deceased, and even, at times, parents who chase away their children. All these troubles lead the children to take to the streets in search of peace, protection, freedom, life, etc. At the Intiganda Center, the Brothers and lay workers are there to help these children, as St. John Paul II asked in his Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa, “It is thus necessary to help young people to overcome the obstacles thwarting their development: illiteracy, idleness, hunger, drugs.” (n° 93).
Thus it was that we also shared with the children in their chores at the Center such as sweeping, cleaning, gardening, etc. We shared prayer together and taught them prayers, hymns, games, etc. We talked together and listened and gave them advice to not return to the streets. Their sufferings touched us, they have seen and lived through things that they should never have to see or experience as children. They spent nights on the street, in cemeteries, under bridges and took care of everything for themselves. Despite what they have been through, their faces are happy thanks to their education at the Center. They have a thirst to know God and for other intellectual knowledge. There are those who come to go to school or to prepare to go to school: primary, secondary, professional school and to reintegrate into their families.
They evangelized us by their patience, joy, understanding of one another and their forgiveness. We know that they need to be listened to for the healing of their wounds. We keep them in our hearts and also in our prayer for the families of today.
Thank you, Lord, for this blessed time given us by the Community.
The Seminary Sisters on Apostolic Experience
Intiganda (1): In the Kinyarwanda language means “the resourceful ones,” the center’s name motivates the children.