On March 19, 2020, the government of Rwanda closed schools to help curb the spread of Covid-19. Schools will not open again until September 2020—the longest school break the children have experienced. Today, the children are at home. Their days are filled with playing with their siblings or neighbours.

Living in poverty, their families cannot afford store-bought toys, so the children cleverly make their own soccer balls and skipping ropes. Children at the Gakenke child development centre share the games and toys they are enjoying during the break.

Everine Umurerwa, 12 years old

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"I love skipping the rope because I can do it with my friends and siblings or it’s a game I can play alone. I'm able to make my rope made from banana fibre. When the rope gets old, I can make a new one because we have many banana plantations in our community."


Jean-Paul Habiyambere, 15 years old

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"My favourite toy is an old motorcycle tyre that I enjoy rolling around with a stick. We usually have competition with my friends to see who can make it go the fastest. It is an affordable toy because I go to a garage near our school and I pick the old tyres."


Josephine Niragire, 14 years old

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"My favourite game is dodgeball because I can play it at school, at the Compassion project, and home at any time with my friends or siblings. However, with the Covid-19 restrictions, I only play with my siblings. I miss playing with my friends at school."


Gilbert Haragirimana, 15 years old

"I enjoy playing soccer with friends. The ball I play with, I made it myself. I used plastic bags and banana fibre. I repair it when it wears out. It is easy to get material to make a new one or repair it. My parents don’t have money to buy me a soccer ball so I make my own."
 

 

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