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Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda Dedicated 15 Years After Genocide to Provide Healing Community to African Orphans
Date:6/8/2009

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Shares Lessons Learned Serving Orphans from the Holocaust in Israel

NEW YORK, June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "I feel like it's a miracle to come to the Village to live, because I was in a bad life. I don't have parents. I don't have a family. I was a street child living on the streets. Now I have hope for my life," said Marcel, whose mother, father, brothers and sister were all killed. Marcel is one of the 1.2 million children orphaned by the Rwandan genocide. Fifteen years have passed since the mass murder of nearly one million people during the course of 100 days in Rwanda.

Hope for Marcel came with the opening of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, a special project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which was recently opened and will eventually house 500 high school age Rwandan orphans. The Village is modeled after Israeli youth villages which were built to serve children who lost their parents in the Holocaust.

Agahozo is the Kinyarwanda word for "a place where tears are dried," and Shalom is Hebrew for "live in peace." The Village is situated on 143 acres of land that overlooks Lake Mugesera in Rwanda's Eastern Province and includes 32 group homes, a high school, science and computer labs, land for organic farming, a reforestation program, dining hall, counseling and medical facilities, and recreational fields. This comprehensive living and learning community provides security, structure, and unconditional support for young people who desperately need a healing environment. The first 125 students, whose ranks will eventually grow to 500, moved into the Village in December 2008, and now call it home.

On June 23, 2009, the opening dedication of the new youth residential and educational complex will be a day-long celebration of joy and peace. Students will perform danc
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SOURCE American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)
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