Let's Help Damas Help Children

Founded over sixty years ago, The Gisimba Orphanage has been managed by three generations of the Gisimba family.  It has sheltered thousands of children over the years, many of who were orphaned by violence.  During the 1994 Genocide, ‘Papa Damas’ Gisimba rescued the lives of hundreds of people by turning the orphanage into a safe haven for Tutsi refugees.  As we chronicle his story on Humans of New York, we are raising money to help him continue his work on behalf of children.  The funds will be used in two ways:  


In an effort to place every orphaned child inside of a home, Rwanda recently enacted a law that shuttered every orphanage in the country.  In the aftermath of this decision, The Gisimba Orphanage has retooled to become a center for after school programs.  The Gisimba orphanage now provides trauma-informed activities and enrichment for underpriviledged children in the Kigali area.  Continuing the family tradition, Dama’s son Patrick has just earned a graduate degree in Child Development from TCU, and will soon be returning to Rwanda to help his father expand the program.  Currently the center enrolls more than 150 children between the ages of three and eighteen.  Your funds will help expand the library, build a computer lab, purchase musical instruments, develop art and dance programs, and facilitate field trips for these children.  The expansion will increase the center’s capacity so that more children can be given care and attention.       

Pictured Above:  Patrick Gisimba, the next generation of the Gisimba Family helping children in Rwanda.



While Rwanda’s genocide is now part of its history, there are still children around the world who are fleeing from violence.  In honor of Damas Gisimba, we are also raising funds to build a house in Uganda for forty-five girls orphaned by the war in South Sudan.     

These children are currently under the care of Cathy Groenendijik.  Cathy is a lifelong advocate for children who has spent the last ten years managing a child protection center in Juba, South Sudan.  She has been instrumental in protecting nearly one hundred girls from violence and sexual exploitation.  Even when civil war broke out in 2013, Cathy remained behind to care for the children.    But two years ago the violence escalated, Cathy moved forty-five of these children to Uganda, where she was able to enroll them in boarding school.  She needs our help getting these children settled in their new country. 

Cathy was featured on Humans of New York several years ago during a trip to South Sudan.  She fatefully reached out for assistance just as I was interviewing Damas, and he offered to use his fundraiser to help these children as well.   His exact words were: 'Love doesn't have any borders.' 

Your funds will be used to purchase a plot of land and build a house in Uganda, where these children will have a place to stay when school is not in session.  The house will be called The Gisimba House.  It will have dormitories and facilities for fifty children.  Any remaining fund will be used toward tuition and school fees.    


Pictured Above:  Cathy with four of the girls she is caring for in Uganda


If you are inspired by Gisimba's story, and would like to impact the lives of traumatized children, please consider donating.  All funds raised will be split equally between these two causes, meaning 100 percent of your donations will go toward providing stability and shelter for deserving children in Rwanda and South Sudan.  Thank you!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Brandon Stanton 
New York, NY
Bill Cook Foundation, Inc. 
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