In 2006, Edward Ballen and his daughter Rachel journeyed to Rwanda to volunteer at the Hameau des Juenes orphanage. Founded by Father Hermann in 1974, the orphanage is a vibrant home to approximately 110 children, close to the shores of Lake Muhazi in the Eastern District of Rwanda. It is a flourishing center of activity with equipment for trade skills training, a food distribution program, and a nearby public school, all of which contribute to its vital community presence.
The orphanage students’ deep desire to learn and further their education stirred the formation of the Rwanda Education Assistance Project (REAP) in the spring of 2008. The acronym – REAP – captures its core commitment: to harvest each child’s educational potential in the face of multiple challenges including poverty, HIV, and post-genocide trauma. Since the children from Hameau des Juenes attend the Duha Complex School, REAP chose this site to begin its work.