Kigali Outreach Camp

August 2015

“My fellow deaf kids and I had never been in any camp that is so exciting and lovely like YL camp.”

In August 2015, 442 kids and 43 leaders from Kigali and surrounding Rwandan provinces came to Young Life camp in Kigali at Riviera High School. Josiane is one of the kids who attended the camp and shares her powerful story. “Camp changed my life” because in Rwanda there aren’t many organizations who care about deaf people. “We grow up stigmatized and stereotyped by our families, our peers and by the community in many ways. Most of the time we learn things on our own ways because people find it difficult to communicate and others think we have nothing to contribute in the society.”

“But since I became part of YL, my life changed because we met people who care and treat kids equally; this made me feel incorporated, valued like any other kids in the community.” Josiane says that she used to feel hopeless, get angry with her mom and misbehave because life was challenging and she was frustrated most of the time. But then her Young Life leaders started visiting her home, along with someone who could translate in sign language, to talk with Josiane’s mother and her, which was encouraging and gave Josiane hope and a reason to turn her life around.

Then Josiane’s leaders invited her to YL camp. She shares: “My fellow deaf kids and I had never been in any camp that is so exciting and lovely like YL camp.” It was also a growing experience. Josiane said she learned teamwork, humility and perseverance, especially through the obstacle course. “Some of my friends were laughing and others crying. We didn’t know why we had to go through those challenges, but since the leaders were in the front, we had to follow them till the end.” It gave Josiane and her friends a sense of accomplishment to finish the course, almost like soldiers completing boot camp! Josiane was overwhelmed by the love she saw in her YL leaders and in cabin time, she appreciated the chance “to ask questions and discuss ideas which helped us to think deep about the love of Jesus for us. Also it was my first time to have quiet time alone and think about my life and God’s love for me; this made me to ponder more about God’s plan over my life which gives me hope for my future; I know that God has great plans for my life. Also the word of God was relevant to us, the examples were so clear; two of our fellow Muslim kids gave their lives to Jesus and now they are attending campaigners meeting though they used to reject Jesus.” They were part of a group of 317 kids who accepted Jesus at Kigali camp.

Josiane concludes “I thank God [for bringing] YL to Rwanda because it has helped me and fellow deaf kids to be valued like any other kid in the community. God bless YL leadership team and all of those [who] support camps for their good heart.”

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