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Evode was a street boy in Kigali, Rwanda. To be on the streets in Kigali means to be involved with crime, gangs, violence and substance abuse. Evode was no exception. After his father was murdered he took to the streets to fend for himself. With his sense of stability and hope for the future stripped away, he started taking drugs and resorted to gang violence for survival.

Then he became a Christian, and everything changed. He no longer wanted to live a life of crime, and instead began to think about what good he could do. But he was homeless and had nothing. He secretly slept in a church at night.

He saw all the boys who were still living on the streets, addicted, abused and starved of hope. So he went to them at night and started just praying for them. They were curious and asked him questions. He told them that with God there was hope for them and their future. He started playing sports with them as a way of bonding, and more and more boys flocked to him, hungry for the hope he spoke of.

Bit by bit Evode was able to enlist the help of local government, schools, churches and NGOs to support the boys. They got some food, some clothes, some schooling. And wherever they were, he was with them.

Fast forward a few years and Evode with his wife, Becky, and the support of many generous people, have provided a home for street boys and are helping to give them a loving family and solid future. They named their organisation Ubaka U Rwanda, which means “Building Rwanda”.

Many of the boys, once forgotten by society, are now looking at bright futures as they study to become doctors, engineers, web developers.

Why do boys end up on the street? What’s it really like to live on the street? What does it take to re-instil hope when such trauma has been suffered at such a tender age?

If you want to meet some of the boys and hear their stories, check out the video below.

The glittering lights of central Kigali at night.

Above: Nyamirambo, the semi-rural part of Kigali where Ubaka is based. Bottom right: A new home that is under construction in order to help accommodate more boys and facilitate more in-house activities to support the boys and the organization.

You’d think that any boy presented with the option of returning to a normal life would jump at the opportunity and never look back. But the sad reality is a little different. For many of these kids, the street has become normal and home is unfamiliar. They don’t have a frame of reference for home, family and school, and it’s not uncommon for boys as young as four or five to already be addicted to substances and/or alcohol. To be at home means unlearning violence and coming off drugs. It’s a difficult transition that requires a lot of love and support and sometimes many attempts before it succeeds.

Not all of the boys Ubaka works with become live-in members of the Ubaka family. Sometimes boys on the street do have at least one good parent to go home to, and are only on the streets because they’ve been enticed by others on the street. In these cases they work with the families to find out what support is needed to restore the boys to their parental home and continue their schooling. Sometimes all they need is help with a bit of food, school fees or a suitable place to do their homework.

A boy on the street is not an isolated problem. Where there are children on the street you will find a host of other problems along with it. So Ubaka is also starting small community upliftment activities. Becky started this (below) Water Babies group which is open to all the local children. They read, sing, dance, play games and receive a meal once per week. They are called the Water Babies because these are the children who walk to fill massive jerry cans with water for their families, sometimes straight from the sewage drains.

The jerrycans used to collect water when none is in the taps (which is most of the time).

Sunset over the beautiful city of Kigali.

For more about Ubaka, see or


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