“We didn’t know life beyond the orphanage” – Divine’s* story

Divine lived in an orphanage for nine long years. Before people like you brought her back to family. This is her story.

Meet Divine.

Divine was born with a disability that affected her mobility. From the moment her disability became visible, she was excluded – from school, from her community in Rwanda, and eventually from her own family who loved her so much.

When Divine was still young, her mother became seriously ill. She was persuaded she could no longer look after her daughter. Heartbroken, she sent Divine to an orphanage.

Will you help bring millions of children like Divine back to family? Donate today.

Divine with her Mother, Mahoro. She is back to family
Divine and her mother, Mahoro*.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Cold and loveless orphanage

Distraught and alone, Divine’s life inside the orphanage gave her none of the natural care and affection she had been surrounded with at home.

“Life at the institution was very hard. I felt so alone and would cry for my mother every day. And at night I would think about my brothers and sisters and cry again, and wonder if they were thinking about me.”


Like Divine, 80% of children in orphanages aren’t orphans. They’ve been wrongfully separated from their families. Families who love them.

Read more about why children end up in orphanages.

Nine long years

For nine long years, Divine lived in a cold, loveless orphanage. She never understood why this had happened to her. No one helped her with her disability. She missed her family every day.

“Sometimes they would come to visit me, and I was so happy to see them and to talk with them. But when it was time for them to go, I was so sad.”


Children like Divine need specialised support and care. Inside orphanages, they’re exposed to violence, abuse, and physical and psychological trauma that lasts a lifetime. It’s not right and it must end.

Read more about how orphanages harm children.

Divine with her entire Family - She is back to family
Divine sits at home, surrounded by her loving family.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Home at last

Thankfully, because of people like you, Divine has been reunited with her amazing family.

Working with government agencies, we contacted her mother and siblings. And by putting just a few crucial supports in place, enabled them to bring Divine back to family. After nine long years.

“Now that she’s back home, and our family is complete, our hearts are filled with immense joy.”

Ishimwe*, Divine’s sister.

Years later, Divine is a happy and healthy young woman. Ambitious, driven and compassionate, she’s now using her story to call for all children around the world to be brought back to family.

“In years to come, I’ll become a journalist or a lawyer,” Divine says. “I want to advocate for people living through injustice, like people with disabilities.”

Read more about how we bring children back to family.

Divine with her Sister, Ishimwe
Divine reunited with her sister, Ishimwe.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Will you help get more children like Divine back to family? Donate today.

Right now, 5.4 million children are trapped inside orphanages. Children like Divine. Together, we can help children get back to family.

Head to our donation page and make a gift today.

* Names changed to protect identity.