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Kid Reporter Leila Sachner with Daniel Trust Kid Reporter Leila Sachner with Daniel Trust, a college student and orphan from Rwanda who is starting a foundation to help orphans in Haiti. (Photo: Isabel Chenoweth)

New Foundation for Haitian Orphans

Rwandan orphan Daniel Trust works to motivate and help

By Leila Sachner | January 3 , 2011

"Be Inspired." That is the message that Daniel Trust wants to give by starting a foundation to help orphans in Haiti.

As an orphan from Rwanda, Trust's story is an inspiration in itself. He has started a designer T-shirt and bag business using the slogan on his products and he is currently a college student and bank employee. He plans to use the story of his life to make a difference.

"I'm the type of person who comes up with an idea and just wants to do it right then, right there," he told this Kid Reporter in a recent interview in Hartford, Connecticut.

At the age of 5, Daniel lost both his parents and two sisters. They were killed during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. After a number of years with difficult, and at times abusive, foster parents, Daniel managed to leave Rwanda and moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut with his older sister.

Born Daniel Ndamwizeye, he changed his name to Trust when he moved to the U.S.  His birth name means "I trust him" in his native language. He went to high school in Bridgeport and is currently a junior at Southern Connecticut State University majoring in business administration.

To start the D-Trust Foundation, Daniel recruited a board of directors to help him. He began the foundation with his own money.

"We haven't had any major fundraising efforts yet," he said.

On January 18, Daniel will travel to Haiti with a photographer friend. He will identify an orphanage in need of clothing, food, and school supplies. While helping provide essentials, he also hopes to inspire children with his story.

"My cause is to eventually help different orphans around the world," he sad. He wants to talk to them, see what is going on with their lives, and share his story to motivate them.

Daniel wants to tell kids that if they work hard and never give up, they can achieve anything they want.  

"Regardless of what I've been through, it's not the end of the world," he said.  

Daniel is very friendly, and you can feel the good vibe he generates from his relaxed attitude the moment you meet him.  He has big brown eyes and a bright smile. He is optimistic, enthusiastic, and passionate about his work.

"I don't want other people to go through what I went through," he said.

CRISIS IN HAITI: ONE YEAR LATER

More than a million people remain homeless and schools are just now being rebuilt in Haiti a year after the country's capital city was devastated by a major earthquake on January 12, 2010. Scholastic Kid Reporters continue their reporting on the earthquake with stories about how people are continuing to help the embattled country in the Crisis in Haiti: One Year Later Special Report.

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