The idea of the foundation Gisimba started after the second world war (WW2) in 1946, there was a famine in Rwanda called Ruzagayura where children were dying on the hills and other vulnerable people too, Gisimba Melchior was a Christian man devoted to help people but mostly children. He would always gather people at his home to share food, water and mostly important teaching them to love and help one another. Unfortunately in 1976 he passed away but one of his sons,Peter and his wife Dancille Gisimba , continued his work by welcoming orphans at their private home. In the early 1980's they found a huge place where children would have space because they were increasing, Unfortunately 1986 Peter and two years from that his wife also passed away.
Among their sons, the eldest, Mutezintare Gisimba Damas, continued the work of his parents, because he was always told by his parents that when they will no longer belong to this world they don’t want all these children scatter or get back to distress. He worked with friends of his parents so that the responsibility and lives of children remain alive. The work of GMC is done in honor of these two inspiring people who gave so much of themselves to others, and changed many lives.
During the tragedy of 1994 Genocide where cries of children could sound at any second, screaming of women and people were deprived from their rights, Gisimba memorial center through Heroic action Mutezintare Gisimba Damas was welcoming children sent by their parents later on adults. 405 lives were rescued at the orphanage with a help of an American aid worker Carl Wilkens who stayed in Rwanda during that horrific time.
In 1995, the orphanage continued to give and welcoming so many orphans, but some were adopted once in awhile others could sometime find their relatives or their family members. Normally a child born with a right to live in a family, have a shelter, food right to be educated and most importantly to be loved. In 2012, Rwanda adopted a new policy to reintegrate orphans into the community through local adoptions.
It is in that perspective, Gisimba Memorial Center with its mission of providing and advocate the rights of a child, with the capacity of educating and give a child an opportunity to discover, interact, play and socially relate or interact with other children while also stimulating academic performance and ethical behavior, Gisimba initiated a program called Gisimba After School Program Initiative which aims to provide children and young adults the opportunity to explore skills and talents through educational, recreational, cultural and Arts activities.
Every Child has the potential to acquiring and develop skills not only to give them a sense of meaning and identity but also empowering them to become fully active citizens in the development of Rwanda.