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Source: agahozoshalom/Instagram

Orphans In Small Rwandan Village Create Key Source Of Solar Power

By Aimee Lutkin

Anne Heyman was working for the New York District Attorney's Office in 2005 when she met a survivor of the Rwandan genocide at a fundraiser. National Geographic reports that in their discussion, Heyman learned about the huge population of young people who were left as orphans in the African country. In a population of 11 million people, one million are orphaned children. After hearing this staggering statistic, Heyman remembered some history: After World War II, tens of thousands of Jewish orphans who had lost their families to the Holocaust ended up in youth villages in what would one day be Israel. Could a similar model be created in Rwanda?

Heyman and her husband, Seth Merrin, raised $12 million to start the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, which they hope will one day be just a single location in a number of villages throughout the country supporting teenagers and children with nowhere to go.

The village started in 2007, and they're currently celebrating their tenth anniversary. Currently, 500 teenagers call the village their home, and they come from all 30 districts of Rwanda.