Street children come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. I have met some from whom I learned a lot, but I think Ezila is not a typical street child.
“An inspiring idea” is something you will always find when you are talking to this young boy. Ezila will share with you his projects, his ever-changing plans for the future, and if you still have some time to talk to him, he will persuade you to support his new project.
The surprise is that Ezila is not academically strong in class. Last term, he received 40%. Yet, after talking to him for a long time, you realize that he has a different talent. He is a risk-taker, and he is able to adapt to any situation. Let me share with you a moment that made me discover that Ezila has a hidden talent.
A few days after he entered the MindLeaps program, Ezila had a car accident and he almost lost his leg while he was looking for recyclable metals to sell at the market. The first night he spent at the hospital waiting for surgery. During that night, he made contact with all the patients in the same hall and their relatives. He knew the number of rooms in the next building and the people hosted inside. He already knew who was going to get the same surgery as him. In fact, he even knew the name of the person looking after him and his cellphone number.
Last year, MindLeaps hosted an American businessperson who was traveling to Rwanda looking for opportunities to invest in the ICT sector. While I was looking for the security guard to open the gate, I realized that Ezila approached the man, introduced himself and presented his project that consisted of creating a computer game with dance moves to entertain other former street children. The way it sounded, he convinced the man to send him some links where he can learn coding. Ezila didn’t ask for money, just some links to keep learning about the way he can improve his project. In a few minutes, the kid had succeeded in his first conversation with an investor.
Last week, Ezila’s brother had an accident. People who were assisting were surprised by Ezila’s idea: go straight to the police and demand that the guilty person indemnify them. None of the people around could imagine that this young boy understood the law and was able to claim his rights.
Ezila wants to become a doctor and help people. He is aware that he must work hard. He also doesn’t want to lose his passion for ICT. I don’t know what will happen exactly to Ezila, but I know that he will go far in life.
Eugene Dushime is the Country Director for MindLeaps Rwanda.