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Seeing the Hurt Behind the Behavior

Imana Kids is an educational sponsorship program for the street kids and orphans of Rwanda that’s like no other. Committed to seeing the hurt behind the behavior from an adverse childhood event, whether chronic neglect, a victim of abuse, or a significant loss, our aim is to provide the world’s most vulnerable children not only with the tools to succeed but also with a safe space to heal, trust and connect. We do this by using evidence-based interventions that promote attachment, are trauma-informed, and designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. Much like pain, trauma is somewhat subjective, meaning that the impact of an adverse childhood event (ACE) can vary dramatically from child to child. Each of our experiences impacts how we process the next one.



Our goal is to help as many children as we can. We achieve this through three main ways: Child Sponsorship, Sparrow’s Nest Fundraiser, and Donations. We also lead mission trips to Rwanda to foster connections between sponsors and children, and to contribute professional skills towards something that might be lacking.


Trust-based relational interventions (TBRI) are a model of care by the late Karyn Purvis that is a toolset to promote attachment, healing, and connection in order to meet the needs of vulnerable and hurt children, typically those who have experienced trauma. 

Often seen as the “opposite” of traditional parenting, discipline, and behavior modifications, TBRI aims to create trust between child and caregiver through playful interactions, creating “felt” safety, recognizing biological needs, and generally finding opportunities to connect and attach.

For Imana Kids, this looks like modeling correct behavior through “do-overs,” bringing children in for extra one-on-one time rather than time-outs or punishments, lots of movement and use of senses, and responding to challenging behaviors with an abundance of patience and grace. It’s difficult, but it's healing work.



Rwanda’s efforts in eradicating poverty, promoting education, and overall raising the well-being of its citizens is commendable, but the journey is still long. Over the past six years, Imana Kids has worked in Rwanda, specifically Kigali and Bugesera to create long-term, sustainable solutions to help some vulnerable children attend school, have healthcare, and have three nutritious meals a day.

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