Watch now: Divine’s incredible journey Back to Family

Divine spent nine years inside an orphanage before your kindness brought her #BackToFamily. Now, she reflects on life beyond the institution and her exciting plans for the future.

Thanks to your donations, Divine is happy again. Out of the orphanage. Back to those who love her. Back to family. Watch her incredible feature for insight into the incredible impacts of your donations.

Watch now: Divine’s Journey Back to Family

Will you help get millions of separated children #BackToFamily? Donate today.

Today, Divine’s living her life as a confident young woman. Surrounded by family. Surrounded by love.

Divine’s story – life inside an orphanage

Divine, who was born with disabilities, spent nine years alone in an orphanage. Like 80% of children in institutional care, she wasn’t an orphan. She had family, family who just needed support. Divine’s mother, Mahoro*, remembers when Divine was sent away.

“It was so difficult for me to take care of her. I needed assistance for her medical care.”

Mahoro, Divine’s mum.
Mahoro, centre, surrounded by five of her children. Mahoro made the heartbreaking decision to place Divine in the orphanage because she couldn’t support her children with poor health.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Mahoro was seriously ill at the time, and needed help to support Divine’s development. Instead of receiving help, her family was torn apart. And Divine lost huge swathes of her childhood inside an orphanage. Neglected. Alone.

“Life in the institution is so hard, and constantly hearing that you are an orphan even though you have parents hurts so much. Having brothers and sisters, and being the only family member living in an institution – you wonder what you have done wrong to end up there.”


Coming back to family

Thankfully, people like you stepped in to help. Mahoro received the support she needed all those years ago. And Divine was finally able to go home. Gisa*, one of our social workers in Rwanda, remembers when Divine found out she was going back to family.

“The day before she went home, she was very anxious. She folded her clothes so carefully and packed her bag early. She kept asking if things with her family and caseworkers might change, and if she might not go home after all.”

Gisa, Hope and Homes for Children Social Worker

Thanks to your donations, everything went right on track. Divine came home from the orphanage. After nine long years, back to family.

While in the orphanage, Divine would go home on weekends to visit her family. Every time she had to return, she was devastated.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Learn more about how we bring children like Divine back to family.

The importance of home

Now she’s back home, Divine’s life has changed immeasurably. She looks back on those days in the orphanage with a sense of sadness, reflecting on the 5.4 million children who still remain trapped inside.

“If you remain inside an orphanage, your ability to learn will be limited,” says Divine. “You’d grow up lacking essential life skills. But when in a family, you’re in a place where you’re supposed to be, as a human. Where you learn skills, where you prepare for independence in later life, to rely on yourself without parents’ support.”

Learn more about how orphanages harm children.

When in a family, you’re in a place you’re supposed to be, as a human.


Once neglected and alone, Divine now has the power to grow. Because when you’re loved, you’re limitless.

Divine, finally at home, happy and healthy. Where she belongs.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Looking to the future

Today, Divine’s got great hopes for the future. She wants to pursue her education and realise her dreams.Divine’s ambitious, confident, and determined to advocate for change for people experiencing the same things she did.

“By God’s grace, I’ll become a journalist, or I’ll study law. I want to advocate for people in justice, mainly people with disabilities, because things are not advancing. There are some things people don’t know, but I, as someone who lived in an institution, know them. I can understand the challenges these people encounter, and what they can do as a response. That’s what I want to do.”


And now that she’s back to family, that’s exactly what she’ll do.

Divine and Mahoro, reunited at last, thanks to the kindness of our supporters.
Joas Mvukiyehe / Hope and Homes for Children

Your generosity got Divine #BackToFamily. Now, will you help millions more children like her? 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.