Meet Twagirayesu Venuste

Venuste is 23 years old, he is in the 5th form. He is the only boy that the headmaster sent us. A dispropotionate number of Les Vulnerables are female, even in a region that does not have gender bias as deep as some.

He comes from the western province of Kirungi. He was orphaned before the genocide and lived alone with his brother and his sister during the genocide. Some good neighbors helped them to flee from the killing, and after the genocide he enrolled in school, but had to stop in the second form.

He was a street child for a long time. He lost track of his siblings.

Then a friend gave him a job as a house boy. He saved enough money for his fees and started at George Fox. He works during the breaks to try and make enough for the next term. Sometimes the headmaster takes less than the whole fee, but it is always everything that he has.

He has reunited with his little brother and sister. His little sister begs for food from the neighbors and tries to cook it for the brothers at night.

When asked what he wants to do with his life, he says that he wants to finish school and get a job, and help orphans who have nothing. We had to stop our interview with him to let him recompose himself – this while telling of being a street child.

He has five scars through his left eyebrow. I asked about it. He has no memory, but was told that when he was a small child he was sick and was taken to a traditional healer who cut him.

When I asked him to smile for a second picture, as I did with each, he tried but didn’t really have a smile – it was as if he did not remember how to make a smile.


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