A day in the life of a Compassion project

We have a wonderful photo diary to share with you - come along and see a typical day at one of our Compassion projects!

Meals, classes, games and worship – all the activities are planned to support the children in their everyday lives. At the heart of Compassion projects are the people. Each child who visits their project meets with pastors, tutors, church staff and volunteers who are delighted to invest in their young lives. Sharing knowledge, kindness and time, the whole team strives to ensure each child knows how deeply they’re loved and valued.

Welcome to the land of a thousand hills

Welcome to Rwanda

We’re delighted to share a photo diary with you, which gives some insight into a typical day at a Compassion project. We hope the photos give a sense of the joy and fun children experience, alongside being built up through nutritious food and academic support.

We’re so grateful to all our amazing supporters – when you sponsor a child, you join the team that surrounds a child with the love and resources they need to thrive.

9.00am Our day at the Compassion project begins! 

9am - the day begins

The children arrive – most live within walking distance.

First up, it’s breakfast. A filling, nutritious meal gets the day off to a good start – and for many of the children, it’s not always possible to get enough to eat at home. Breakfast is often porridge, but today it’s mandazi, which is a bit like a cross between a fluffy pancake and a donut… Yum! You can try the recipe here.

Breakfast at the Compassion Programme

In the last two years, the number of people facing severe food insecurity has doubled and now, globally, one in 10 people are going to bed hungry.

That’s why staff and volunteers at the Compassion project ensure the children enjoy good meals. They also keep a careful watch on each child for signs of malnutrition, so they can step in to provide nutritional support when needed.

After breakfast, it’s time for prayer and devotion. As part of Compassion’s programme, every child has the opportunity to hear about the love of God through the gospel.

Children sat at a desk during their first class

The children get settled in for their first class of the day. The smaller class sizes mean that children receive closer attention than many would during the week. They can ask questions and deepen their understanding.

Most importantly, the academic support they receive shows the children that their future is worth investing in. Poverty may try to rob children of their potential, but in this classroom, children can dream, learn and grow their unique skills and talents.

Children playing during their break time

10.30am Break time! It’s time to head out to the playground to dance, sing, and play with friends. The smiles say it all!

Back inside for the second class

11am Back inside for the second lesson of the day.

Rwanda prioritises education, and up to 98% of children are enrolled in primary school. However, crowded classes — sometimes with 60 children to one teacher — makes it hard for children who are struggling.

Incredible team of cooks picking vegetables

While the children are in lessons, the incredible team of cooks visit the project’s vegetable garden to harvest ingredients for lunch. Produce doesn’t get much fresher than this!

The typical Rwandan menu includes rice, posho (a common East African dish made with cornmeal) or potatoes with beans and green vegetables.

Biraryoshe being served

12pm Lunch is served. The verdict? “Biraryoshe”— delicious!

Play time at the programme

It’s play time! God designed us for community, so Compassion encourages children in developing healthy relationships. At their local project, children have friends to learn alongside and have fun with.

Back in class for the third lesson

1pm Time to learn in the afternoon, and today it’s a class about healthy bodies.

Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy. As well as medical check-ups, Compassion includes workshops on topics such as preventing malaria.

Worldwide, malaria takes the life of a child under five every two minutes – and it can be a major reason for children missing school and disrupting their education. Learning about simple prevention techniques and how treatment can save lives is part of Compassion’s malaria intervention. As a nation, Rwanda has met its current targets on reducing malaria cases as part of its ongoing prevention programme.

2pm Now the children write letters to their sponsors and spend some time planning for the future. Sponsors play a hugely important role in children’s lives through prayers and messages of encouragement.

Tutors help younger children write their letters and may write prompts on the blackboard to get their creative juices flowing.

Older children discovering skills and strengths

Older children work with local staff to discover their gifts, strengths and interests and set goals for their future. We call this “My Plan for Tomorrow”. They also receive vocational skills training in areas like computing, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, dressmaking, cooking and hairdressing.

Find out about the Compassion journey each child undertakes through to graduation here.

Goodbye for now

After a fun-filled day, it’s time to say “Murabeho!” Goodbye!

Thanks for spending the day with us!

*This is an example of a typical day, but the curriculum and topics covered will vary at each project, depending on the children’s needs.

Discover more about the teams that surround a child through Compassion here.

About Rwanda

Rwanda in East Africa is known as ‘the land of a thousand hills.’ It’s filled with forest-covered mountains, has a stunning lake region, and is home to half the world’s population of gorillas.

Rwanda is also a country of young people; almost half the population is under 18. After the genocide in 1994 where 800,000 mainly Tutsi people were killed by Hutu extremists, the Rwandan people has worked to bring healing, and is committed to bold strategies for transformation.

The country has a goal of becoming a middle-income nation by 2035. Despite remarkable progress, 16% of the population still experience extreme poverty (living on under $2.15 a day) and 2 out of 5 Rwandans still experience poverty, as reported by UNICEF.

It remains a critical time to help the millions of people still struggling to survive. Compassion has worked with local church partners in Rwanda since 1979, serving children by caring for their minds, hearts, bodies and spirit.

Zannah Kearns

Words by Zannah Kearns, Zoe Noakes


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.