For Virginie, a single mother of seven in Kigali, Rwanda, life often seemed hopeless. With little income and no family support, Virginie could only imagine small dreams for her children. For most low-income children in Rwanda education ends at grade six, so Virginie’s hopes for her children ended there. “I was young and alone in caring for my children and struggling for life,” she says. “I thought, if my children could read and write, then that would be enough for them.”

That all changed in 2007 when Virginie learned of a school sponsorship program at YFC’s newly founded Kigali Christian School (KCS). Since Virginie couldn’t afford adequate education, she quickly applied for her eight year old son, Sédrique. He was accepted, and eventually three more of Virginie’s children followed, inspiring bigger dreams and a new story for the whole family. Since the school also provided a daily hot lunch, it also meant her children didn’t have to go days without food, and could focus their minds on learning.

       KCS was established by Youth for Christ Rwanda in 2006 to help bring quality education to a society mourning a horrific genocide. It also brought opportunity to Rwandan youth experiencing poverty, while sharing the love of Jesus to youth of all backgrounds. KCS is flourishing, with over 1,800 students across two campuses, including hundreds of sponsored students.



       In addition to the schools, YFC Rwanda ministers to children living on the streets and is working to build a teenage pregnancy crisis center, supporting sexually abused teens near the Congo border. YFC also runs a discipleship gap year program, developing future Rwandan leaders.

While it’s now obvious Sédrique is one of those future leaders, it wasn’t always as evident. “He was very hard to deal with at a young age,” Virginie says, “but the school leaders helped him”. With mentors and teachers working with him in a positive environment, Sédrique began to thrive to the point of getting top marks, engaging in prayer and worship times, and even becoming a prominent member of the school soccer team.

Students hard at work at KCS, Kigali Campus


Each student gets a hot, nutritious meal daily

When it came time for graduation and Rwanda’s national exams, Sédrique scored a perfect 70/70 and was accepted into a Rwandan Government Institution to study law. Sédrique’s younger siblings, Serge, Pascifique, and Sandrine, are following their brother’s lead, achieving high grades and working towards graduation and beyond. For Virginie and her family, the impact of sponsorship has been life-changing.

Sédrique was so transformed by the care he received from his teachers and sponsors that he also wanted to make an impact. “I learned so much,” he says, “and because I was sponsored, I learned that in the little I have, I can also help others.” So, after graduation, Sédrique founded “Live for Love”, a group of Rwandan youth collectively contributing what they can to sponsor children to attend KCS.
       Beginning with a modest goal, Sédrique started by reaching out to school, soccer, and church friends. The group grew quickly as young people caught Séédrique’s vision. Today nearly 50-youth strong, Live for Love sponsors five students, all of which are making significant progress;



including two students who entered education late, completing kindergarten at the age of ten.

Virginie, like all the parents of sponsored kids, couldn’t be more thankful for her family’s future. “YFC is a good family,” she says. “When you don’t have hope, they help you find hope. I am so grateful my children are in the sponsorship program.”
       Sédrique begins his law studies this fall. “My plans are to study hard, be a great person, and be a very good lawyer in this country” he says. “Because I was sponsored and the value it gave me, I decided to try my best to help others.” Sédrique is extremely grateful to all the sponsors. “We really thank God for the sponsors,” he says. “We always pray for them and we pray that God will bless them day by day.”


Wait…What’s Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited
doing in Rwanda?

While GVYU is its own charity, as part of YFC International we are in a very special, symbiotic partnership with YFC Rwanda. GVYU runs the Elevation Program; a 16-month youth leadership development program, which includes three weeks serving and learning in Rwanda. We’ve seen the life-changing impact that quality education affords to those without means. We have a commitment to match 300 sponsors with 300 Rwandan children.

Since the pandemic, we are short 65 sponsors. If you can help, visit:






On November 18 we are teaming up once again with the Joseph Richard Restaurant Group (JRG), to strengthen our impact in supporting youth who are homeless and/or facing other extreme vulnerabilities. Last year, nearly 200 sleepers joined YU from all over the region to raise nearly $260,000. This year’s goal is $300,000 and we need people like you to make it happen. Register now or support a sleeper:




Summer trips were back in full swing, and we (and our youth!) couldn’t be more grateful! Beaches, watersports, BBQs, hikes, and art adventures were all in high gear as youth found safe places to connect, feel supported and have an abundance of fun. We even made our way back to Disneyland. These events are critical for helping some youth get out of their comfort zone and giving them a break from other challenging situations.


We are so pleased to announce that Lifehouse launched its second cohort this month! Now run at the beautiful Stillwood camp outside of Chilliwack, Lifehouse is a gap-year program for those in search of extra support between the transition from highschool to young adulthood.











I love coffee.
I mean…I really love it!

It all started when I was 15 years old working with autistic children in a summer program. The staff room had free drip coffee with unlimited creamers and sugar packs. My enjoyment of coffee grew when Winnipeg got its first Starbucks inside a Chapters book store. Moving to Vancouver introduced me to a whole coffee culture world with cafés as ubiquitous as water. I soon replaced my drip coffee with americanos, cappuccinos and double espressos. My first Father’s Day gift was an espresso machine which I used everyday for 13 years. Since then I have upgraded my machines twice. Coffee is expensive, but it also adds a measure of value to my life, it might even be a passion of mine.

I find it interesting how passions (some might say addictions) develop, and consequently, how much money and time we will devote to them without giving it much thought.

Back in 2008, my ministry with Youth Unlimited gave me the opportunity to connect with YFC Rwanda. On my first Rwanda trip, I got into a big coffee conversation with my colleagues and our new Rwandan friends. I was informed that one of Rwanda’s main exports is coffee and that the average farmer makes about $1/day. On average, I likely spend about $3/day on coffee or close to $100/month. That’s more than three times the farmers entire monthly wage, just on coffee!

The conversation soon shifted to Rwanda’s greatest need: quality education. Soon after, our Executive Director at the time and the leadership of YFC Rwanda determined that it would cost $50/month per student to provide a high standard of education including a healthy lunch. That means I could support the education and nutritional needs of two Rwandan children for the amount of money I spend on coffee. WOW!

In 2008, our sponsorship program was launched, and since then 472 Rwandan children and youth have been given the gift of a life changing education; all for the price of a month of coffee.

In this edition of Connections, you will see just how transformational our sponsorship program is for Rwandan youth. God’s power and goodness is on display as God shapes these young future leaders of Rwanda.

If you are currently a sponsor, thank you! You are truly an agent of hope. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please reach out to us at and we will connect you with a child who is waiting to begin their life changing educational journey.

With deep gratitude,

Mark Koop




Executive Director