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Project February 11, 2007

Rwanda: Teens Reaching Across a Divide


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Several Vermont high school students traveled to Rwanda in December 2006 to meet with teenagers orphaned by AIDS. The six students and adults from two schools filmed, photographed and interviewed Rwandan teenagers participating in a program aimed at helping them become financially independent.

The program, based in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, was launched this summer by Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (CHABHA) a Vermont-based nonprofit using money raised by the American teenagers. It provides job skills training for orphaned teenagers who haven't been able to attend high school. It also educates them about AIDS prevention.

Some 210,000 children now living in Rwanda have been orphaned by AIDS, according to the United Nations. Reporter Sonia Scherr accompanied the school group to Rwanda, chronicling the interaction between the American and Rwandan teenagers as they met peers whose lives, at least outwardly, were vastly different from their own.