As a young man, Fils was left with the responsibility of providing for his family. He didn’t have enough time to attend school. But with the support of his Compassion center, Fils discovered a new passion that also served as a source of income.
“I never had a chance to meet my father; he died when I was young,” says 20-year-old Fils. “My mother died in 2006. Losing my mother was a blow. We were so close.”
Fils grew up in Rwanda. By the time he was 8, he had lost both of his parents. The grief of losing his mother was particularly crushing, as was the poverty he lived in.
After his mother’s death, Fils and his four younger siblings moved in with their grandparents. But as the children got older, so did their grandparents. And before he knew it, Fils was a young man caring not only for his younger siblings but also for his aging grandparents.
“When I was getting a formal education, I would come back home on an empty stomach, and my siblings would look at me for a solution,” Fils says. “I started to get odd jobs, and this affected my school performance.”
But things started to change after Fils finished ninth grade. With the support of his Compassion center, he decided to enroll in a vocational training center so that he could study and earn an income at the same time!
Fils chose to pursue a career in repairing cars and motors. After one year of training, he received a certificate to work as a professional mechanic and got a job at a local garage. Alongside working as a mechanic, Fils also makes a little extra income by transporting people in the community on his motorbike.
And now, as a 20-year-old, Fils can support his family. He pays his siblings’ school fees as well as his grandparents’ medical bills.
“I’m so grateful to my sponsor and center staff for not only taking care of me, but also for giving me career guidance and thus the opportunity to gain skills as well as make some money to take care of my family,” Fils reflects.
“Today, Fils is marketable,” says Jean, Director of the center Fils attends. “He can compete in the job market. He is still gaining more skills as a mechanic. And who knows? Maybe one day he will open his own garage and start to employ other people.”
The support of Compassion has been instrumental in his life. So instrumental that, to this day, Fils doesn’t let his many responsibilities interfere with his attendance at the center.
“I spare Saturdays to attend center activities,” he says, “because I always look forward to meeting and interacting with my peers.”
Fils’ road has not been easy. But despite the poverty he grew up in and the challenges he still faces today, Fils is grateful. He has hope.
“I am thankful to God that I got to know Jesus at a young age,” he says. “That has helped me become a responsible person. I see some other young people my age who are struggling with drug abuse and other bad behaviors, and my heart aches.”
And thanks to the support of his sponsor and staff at the Compassion center, he is gaining the tools he needs to escape the cycle of poverty in Jesus’ name.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support young people like Fils as they pursue an education or vocational training to escape the cycle of poverty, click here.