We recently received the following from Sean Jones, Executive Director at The Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP). Emmanuel was featured in our original write-up on the ROP in 2012.
“Emmanuel joined ROP’s Imizi Children’s Centre in Rwanda when he was only five years old. This was around the same time that Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe charity began its partnership with ROP, helping us to provide our former street children with quality primary education. At the time, Emmanuel was the youngest child to join the Imizi program, and he started school in grade 1.
Each and every year, Emmanuel worked as hard as he could in the classroom, and as a result he was almost always at the top of his class at the end of the term. All of his fellow classmates looked up to him as an example of what hard work and enthusiasm can achieve.
Today, six years later, Emmanuel has nearly completed his first year of secondary school, and once again he has risen to the challenge by being one of the top scoring students at his new boarding school. Whilst we are very proud of Emmanuel’s achievements, we are also very proud of the fact that, after years of hard work from our team of social workers, we have been able to rebuild the relationship Emmanuel had with his former estranged aunt.
Emmanuel ran away to the streets because his aunt was abusive and negligent towards him when he was younger, but today they have a very positive relationship and Emmanuel goes to visit her in between school terms. ROP has also helped his aunt to start a small business selling fish at the local market, so she is now able to take better care of her own children as well.
It is thanks to the support of our partners, like Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe, that we have been able to change Emmanuel’s life, and the life of so many other vulnerable children from all over Rwanda.”
We are delighted that Emmanuel is doing so well, and would like to thank Sean for his update.
And here is a photo of Emmanuel as he is today …
Dragon’s Heart Europe support a very unique martial arts class for young people with special educational needs and associated learning difficulties at Bruce Grove, Tottenham, North London.
On 19 July 2017, the UK Board members paid a visit to award these dedicated students and their volunteers with Certificates to mark their Achievements over the last year.
This was a great evening shared with the students and their parents. Huge thanks, as ever, to Glenn Delikan of Sanjuro Martial Arts for making it all possible.
Since House Madelief opened in September 2014, it has become a warm and friendly place for elderly people who are alone and have little or no social contacts.
A wide range of activities are organised from movie and music mornings to playing games and being creative making Easter ornaments and Christmas cards. We have had fashion shows and wellness mornings, and not forgetting our Tai Chi mornings. Our outings are also a big success. – we have been on a boat trip along the river Maas in Rotterdam, a trip to a museum in a old fashioned American school bus, a visit to the Christmas market and our annual dinner parties.
Because of our growing popularity we had to hold our New Year’s party at a bigger venue as both the Tuesday morning and the Thursday morning groups wanted to attend. The Handball Club ETC in Hoogvliet very kindly let us use their facilities. After coffee and cake, Edwin Smid, Chairman of Commission Hoogvliet, delivered a very heartwarming speech reflecting on 2016, at the end of which glasses were raised to toast the New Year. A slide show was shown with photos of all the activities that had taken place in 2016. Then a delicious lunch was served courtesy of our very dear friends, Kees and Ksenija van Meijeren. The musical entertainment was provided by Elly Bezemer.
We would like to thank our volunteers who make all these activities possible.
New activities are being planned so stay tuned! We will update regularly.
If you live in Hoogvliet (or indeed Rotterdam) and are alone and need some company, please come and visit us at House Madelief, you’ll be very welcome!
For more information, please contact:
Kitty Engelmoer, Foundation President of Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe,
telephone no. 06-10376511, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lies vd Perk-Zondag, Coordinator, telephone no. 010-4166831
We look forward to seeing you …
Recently Jane & Ben went back to visit St Luke’s Community Centre to see how the Sanjuro exercise/mobility classes have been going.
They got to meet and catch up with those participating and joined in both parts of the class. It was great to see and hear how much members enjoyed the classes as well as how much it they found it beneficial.
Sadly this was the last class but we at Dragon’s Heart Europe and our partners Sanjuro hope to be able to come back and hold more classes soon.
We are pleased to announce the start of a new project in the UK offering free weekly exercise and mobility classes for the over 55s. These classes will take place at St Luke’s Community Centre in London on a Tuesday morning, between 11am and 12noon.
The project is being delivered by Sanjuro Martial Arts Training Systems, who recently won the Club of the Year Award presented to them by Sport London.
Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe is delighted to be able to offer this new venture for the over 55s and would like to thank Sanjuro Martial Arts for agreeing to become involved.
If you (or you know of anyone) are interested, please contact Anita Yiannoullou on 07973 571 921 for further details.
On 21 January 2016, the UK team were invited to attend the London Sport Awards at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, England.
We are delighted to report that Sanjuro Martial Arts, who we provide funding for, concluded the ceremony by winning the ‘Club of the Year’ Award.
Huge congratulations to Glenn and Anita from all at Jackie Chan’s Dragon’s Heart Europe, and on behalf of everyone who has supported us!
New Year Greetings from House Madelief!
House Madelief is a project of JC Dragon’s Heart Foundation Europe and takes place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. On the first Tuesday of every month, a morning is organised for elderly people who live independently, alone and have little or no social contacts.
On 5 January 2016, a New Year reception was held at House Madelief. Whilst enjoying a drink, a snack and beautiful music, we looked back at the many coffee mornings which took place in House Madelief in 2015. Photographs were shown of some of the activities we held and of course not forgetting the boat trip!
We would like to thank accordionist Toni Reiche, who provided the music – thank you Toni!
And of course we will continue, we already have a number of fun activities on the program for 2016!
Besides the first Tuesday morning of every month, we are also going to organise coffee mornings which will take place every third Thursday morning of the month. These will start on Thursday 21st January. The theme of the morning on the 21st will be music, and we will show a music DVD of “The 10 Tenors”.
If you are alone and need some company, please come and visit us at House Madelief, you’ll be very welcome!
For more information, please contact:
Kitty Engelmoer, Foundation President of JC Dragon’s Heart Europe, telephone no. 06-1037651, email: email@example.com
Lies vd Perk-Zondag, Coordinator, telephone no. 010-4166831
We look forward to seeing you …
With co-operation from the Commission Hoogvliet, JC Dragon’s Heart Foundation Europe has started a new project in Hoogvliet.
The project is called ‘’Home Madelief’’ and is located at: Tini’s Healing Zonnecentrum, address: Bovensim 148, hoek Zetangel, Zalmplaat, Hoogvliet.
The target group are elderly people who live independent, alone, and have little or no social contacts. We invite those people to get together and spend a morning with us in ‘’Home Madelief’.
We offer them an enjoyable talk and a sympathetic ear with coffee, tea, and some cake. They can borrow books from our mini library, watch movies, or play games. We also arrange short trips for them, to the Christmas market for example. Everything is in consultation with the people themselves and is free.
We started small, and for now the intention is to meet every first Tuesday of the month between 10.00 and 12.00. We hope to expand it to twice a month in the future.
As there are many facilities for the elderly in North-Hoogvliet, we only invite people who live in South-Hoogvliet owing to the shortage of facilities for the elderly, this includes Zalmplaat, Boomgaardshoek.
We opened on 2 September 2014 and everyone has agreed how much they’ve enjoyed it.
We would like to thank the Residents’ Initiative for their contribution enabling us to start this project.
For more information, please contact:
Kitty Engelmoer, President
JC Dragon’s Foundation Heart Europe
Tel no. 06-10376511
Lies vd Perk-Zondag, Co-ordinator,
Tel no. 010-4166831.
The Sanjuro Martial Arts training system that JC Dragon’s Heart Europe supports in the UK is concerned with guaranteeing the survival of a very special martial arts class. It is run by Sanjuro* for young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in a deprived part of north London.
They work with children from 6 years old with no upper age limit. The people they work with include: those with Down’s syndrome, Autism, those who are hard of hearing, have visual impairments, or use wheelchairs.
Through a partnership with the local council, whereby they provide half the funding and JC Dragon’s Heart Europe funds the other half, we have ensured that the classes will take place for the full academic year September 2015 – July 2016. This guarantee of funding has allowed Sanjuro to make the class so much more than just about martial arts.
They are now able to develop a program which is more challenging for the students and includes training about empowerment, personal development, and employment. Students can be trained to become trainers in their own right which immediately gives them an opportunity for employment.
The benefits to this vulnerable section of the local community are tangible. We have seen the very real difference this training brings to the lives of the students and their families. The young people interact with each other in a way they would not have done without the class. They have the opportunity, no matter how physically or mentally disabled they are, to take part in the training which has brought about benefits to their health and wellbeing.
Without this class, there is nowhere for these young people to meet, train and develop together in a safe environment.
What JC Dragon’s Heart Europe is trying to achieve is a commitment to making sure this very special class continues. We want to be able to offer long term support so that the programme is sustainable and the benefits to this often forgotten section of the local community can grow year on year. Your donation can help us to do that!
‘If this class wasn’t on, Emma would be doing nothing. She’d be stuck indoors… It’s so important to them all. The staff really look after them and give them lots of encouragement. They allow younger brothers and sisters to join in, even the parents if they want to.’
Quote from a Parent, about a Sanjuro class for students with special needs, aged 14-24 years.
JC Dragon’s Heart Europe is delighted to announce that they have partnered with the Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP). The ROP provide basic needs and education for about 100 of Rwanda’s most vulnerable and neglected children.
We at JC Dragon’s Heart Europe feel that by lending our support, we can help to make a real difference to the prospects, and ultimately, future lives, of the children.
Sean Jones, ROP volunteer says:
‘The children that this project helps include victims of the 1994 Genocide, children who have lost one or both parents to diseases like AIDS or malaria and children who have witnessed a parent being killed from domestic violence. We find these children struggling to survive in the streets of Kigali, washing in sewers, begging on busy streets and often abusing drugs to help alleviate the pangs of hunger.’
‘We [The Rwandan Orphans Project] offer them a place where they can have stability, safety, regular meals, clean clothes, access to medical treatment and, most importantly of all, education. Often the promise of going to school is what convinces a child to join the ROP. Our boys have told us that while living on the streets, they would see ‘normal’ children wearing school uniforms and carrying school books and walking with their parents, and they would know that they should be like those children, and wish that they could be too. The ROP allows them to have the opportunities that every child deserves and every boy at our centre is enrolled in school, many for the first time in their lives. While we can never replace their families, we do allow them to have hope for their futures by providing them with an education and giving them the support and stability they need to take advantage of it.’
Rwandan Orphans Project – ROP Beneficiaries
‘The Rwandan Orphans Project Centre has an in house catch-up/primary school for those young students who have fallen behind in their studies while on the streets or, as is often the case, have never attended school at all. We also allow local children whose families are too poor to pay school fees to attend our school free of charge. For those of our boys who complete primary school, we fund their secondary education too, paying for tuition, materials and transportation. We even assist those who receive university scholarships by paying their registration and other fees for their first year.’
They hope someday to be able to offer our own university scholarship program, but for now this goal is out of their reach.
‘For students who started school too late and struggle academically, we offer to send them to vocational school to learn such skills as carpentry and mechanics. Despite the fact that we only house boys at the Centre due to a lack of space, we pay the school fees of about ten female students from poor families by selling quilts made by one of our staff members to visitors and tourists around Rwanda.’
Orphaned Children – Now At School in Africa
‘The ROP is a small non-profit organization, supported by individual donors who each give small amounts on a monthly basis. Every month, we struggle to raise enough money to keep the project going and while we have a great vision for expanding our Centre to help even more children, including girls, currently we have barely enough funding to maintain our current operation. Our greatest expense is education, followed by food. Our long term goal is to raise enough money to purchase our own land and construct our own buildings designed specifically for our needs. In the short term, we aim to continue improving and expanding on our current programme in order to provide the greatest possible environment and opportunities to the vulnerable children of the ROP family.’
Emmanuel – An African Orphaned Child
Little Emmanuel was so young when he took to the streets that he doesn’t even know where his home area is. Aged just five, he had ended up on the streets of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, as one of the city’s many street children.
Emmanuel was orphaned at around the age of four and was too young at the time to know how his parents died. He lived with an aunt for a few months after their deaths but says he was badly treated by her and they often didn’t have enough to eat, so at the tender age of five, he decided to take to the streets to fend for himself. Despite his early difficulties, Emmanuel is an exceptionally bright and capable boy. He ended up sleeping under trucks in an area of the city popular with international truck drivers, and consequently managed to learn Swahili from them. He told staff that he used to see children walking home from school and each afternoon would ask them what they had studied that day so that he could learn from them.
Emmanuel’s early interest in the world and yearning to learn as much as possible has held him in good stead. Since starting primary school for the first time when he joined the ROP last year, he has consistently been one of the highest achievers in his class.
Altogether, the ROP supports the education of about 160 children from inside and outside of their orphanage.
They believe that education is the key that opens the door of opportunity for these children, and will allow them to escape the cycle of poverty and give them a promising future.
Just a small donation from people such as yourself would go towards helping JC Dragon’s Heart Europe achieve this for these youngsters.
Mugisha, an Orphan in Rwanda
Like many children in Rwanda’s rural areas, Mugisha was born to a very poor family. His father – a survivor of the 1994 Genocide – was crippled for life. Driven to alcoholism, one day he killed Mugisha’s mother in a drunken rage while the young boy was in the house. Fearing for his life, Mugisha fled his home and found his way to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. Soon after his father was arrested and given a sentence of 30 years in prison. Mugisha had no other family to turn to care for him.
Mugisha would survive by begging for money and sleeping in the small gaps between buildings at night. He would try to make money to buy food by selling small pieces of scrap wood he would scavenge from around the neighbourhood. Mugisha says he lived like this for six years, but because of his young age we have no way of knowing if this is accurate. Mugisha would beg every day at the shop of a local businessman. One day he snuck into his car and refused to come out, begging the man to take him to his home. He lived with the man for four months, but was not able to attend school because the man could not afford to pay his school fees. The man asked the director of the ROP if we could take him to our Centre so he could be properly cared for and be able to attend school.
That was in July 2010 and Mugisha has been at the Centre ever since. With his distinct voice and feisty personality, he quickly became popular with children and staff. Despite his young age, family history and the fact that he had to struggle on the streets for so long, Mugisha immediately showed the maturity and confidence of a young man several years older than he is. He has shown immense promise in school. In fact, in his very first term in primary school he earned the highest grades in his class.