Life at The Noel Orphanage in Rwanda – Diary of Sharon Gallagher (Entry 1)

Wednesday 20th October 2010


Unpacking at The Noel Orphange Rwanda

I explained that we were from The Point Foundation and we had brought aid. We were suddenly surrounded by adults and children all desperate to see who we were, and what we had brought. Large coloured sheets were laid on the floor, and they began to empty the bags. Madame Director removed toothbrushes, teething rings and baby clothes – everyone started to clap. A carnival atmosphere began with more and more people coming to see.

Balloons at The Noel Orphange RwandaWe had taken balloons for the children, and began to blow them up – there was a complete frenzy. We were surrounded, and backed up against walls, with more than 30 children begging for us to give the next balloon to them. This continued for around an hour, whilst the aid was slowly given out to the house Mothers.

Our tour of the orphanage was a desperate affair. In the baby room 3 or 4 babies were standing up in each cot, aged 1-2years. In the next room 4 or 5 infants were lying on each mattress on the floor – these were girls. In the boys room 4 or 5 boys lay asleep on metal beds.

Babies at The Noel Orphanage RwandaInfant Girls Room at The Noel Orphanage RwandaInfant Boys Room at The Noel Orphanage Rwanda

In the older girls dormitories we found girls around 14-15 years in bed in awful conditions – it was 1.30pm in the afternoon, we were told they were tired after school exams. The toilets and showers were beyond awful.

The staff were friendly and the children all seemed well fed, and looked surprisingly happy, with the odd exception – a tiny baby, with tiny thin arms and legs and staring eyes. Only 3 months old – she had been there 2 days; her mother had died of Aids. Her name was Emelyne. She was pitiful. Zebiah said that the babies often arrived like this, but within a month she would look much better. I pray so.

Happy Faces at The Noel Orphanage RwandaSharon and Baby Emelyne at The Noel Orphanage Rwanda


Sharon Gallagher

Manager at Gem Vending Ltd