What would you do if you heard that 11 of your friends were in prison, simply for having no place to sleep?
That was the dilemma that college students Hilliary Anderson and Megan Chao faced in 2009. While on a service trip to Kigali, Rwanda, they met a group of street boys, ages 5-17, and began bringing them food and washing their clothes – earning the name, “Mother.” While back in Washington state, Hilliary and Megan were devastated to learn from another Rwandan friend, Chantal Umutesi, that the boys had been arrested and were living in an overcrowded prison full of violent adults. Lice crawled over the mattresses. Meals came once per day. The water was dirty, and there was no toilet or latrine.
The college students knew they had to do something. The only way that the children could be released was to a home, so they searched for a local non-profit, but couldn’t find anything with the right capacity. All three women felt encouraged by God to start a grassroots organization to equip children with the resources they needed to escape homelessness and change their futures.
We have identified the six biggest issues that affect homeless youth’s long-term happiness and growth. By tackling each of these issues, we see children rise out of poverty and become role models for the next generation.