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 Children  Rwanda Project #10392

Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty

by HANDS AROUND THE WORLD Vetted since 2010 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty
Classroom in Mubera
Classroom in Mubera

We have been holding discussions with the Rotary Club of Jersey about a long-term project which will potentially transform one of the schools on the outskirts of Bugarama.

Mubera Primary school, located in Gikundamvura Sector, Rusizi District, Rwanda, currently with 455 pupils and 11 teachers. The school is situated in a remote area, on a hillside, with difficult road access. The school has expanded quickly from its foundation in 2008 and has doubled its number of pupils since 2011. The poor-quality original construction materials are crumbling away and the dilapidated classrooms are some of the worst we have seen in Rwanda.

We first visited the school two years ago when the local Parish Priest, Father Felix, tried to get us interested in undertaking a project there. Our original thoughts were that the conditions were too difficult for us to be able to send a team of volunteers there. In addition, the school needed more than just a few new buildings. The expectations of the local community were low – no pupils from Mubera had ever achieved good enough grades to transfer to secondary school. Pupils often missed school to help their parents working in the fields as there was little confidence in education.

Following a visit to Mubera from a member of the Rotary Club in Jersey interest has been generated in a plan to give the school a huge uplift, not just with new a few new classrooms. Proposals include support for a school meals programme which will encourage parents to send their children to school and improve general attendance. A kitchen will be needed. There will be a commitment to sponsor any student who gains secondary qualification to allay parents’ fears that they would be unable to afford the fees. There is little attraction for teachers to stay at the school so building teacher accommodation has been put forward. This needs further discussion with the local authorities as this is a novel idea in Rwanda.

For children who leave primary school there is little prospect in the area except to help their parents with subsistence farming. Another planned initiative is to develop a vocational training section at the school to offer courses in masonry, carpentry, painting, needlework and tailoring.

Finally, the plan includes a sports court for basketball, volleyball and netball. We have seen in other local schools the sense of pride that comes from such a facility.

All of this doesn’t come cheap of course. The overall project will probably amount to £90,000 over four years. This is an ambitious scheme for Rotary to undertake. Hands Around The World will work in partnership with Rotary, making the most of our local contacts. Rotary also hope to get some Rotary members from Kigali interested in supporting their project. Hopefully, some representatives from the Rotary of Jersey will pay a visit to Bugarama – there is nothing like personal knowledge to inspire yet more visions of what can be achieved

Celebrations at School
Celebrations at School

A team of HATW volunteers from Jersey Channel Islands will be returning to Bugarama again in November this year to continue our programme of development in schools in and around the town. We have now prepared a three-year programme of improvements taking in all five local schools.

Last year we expanded our reach to two new schools, at Kibangira and Nyakagoma, where we were able to build five new classrooms at each school with the benefit of assistance from Jersey Overseas Aid. We will be working at both of these schools again, refurbishing old existing classrooms at Kibangira and improving the landscaping at groundworks at Nyakagoma which will help to prevent soil erosion during the rainy season.

When we first visited Kibangira a couple of years ago the buildings were in a very neglected state – one had even lost one of its walls. The new classrooms there are an outward sign of a transformation of the school, supported by the Rwandan government which has installed electricity earlier this year. We have been able to provide three second hand computers and a photocopier. Next year our plans include a full-scale ICT centre. The teachers and the pupils have discovered real pride in their school.

Meanwhile, at Muko School this year we will be providing a multi-use sports area, with concrete base, for basketball, netball and volleyball. We have seen the impact this facility has had on Mihabura School where the same sports facility was provided a couple of years ago. This ever-expanding school desperately needs additional facilities besides basic classrooms. Next year’s plans include more new classrooms, this time extending upwards by providing a second storey on existing buildings - it’s the only sensible way to expand given the pressures on land in Rwanda.

There is no additional building work at Mihabura this year – but we are providing financial support for the school feeding programme. This has been key to the school’s recent success in boosting attendance and in improved exam results, making this one of the most successful schools in the region.

The schools in Bugarama are a model of achievement. Each year when we visit we see growing pride and self-confidence. Hands Around the World is proud to support them. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Please help us continue to make a huge difference in the lives of these children.

Kibangira old classroom
Kibangira old classroom
Kibangira new classrooms
Kibangira new classrooms
The Mayor of Rusizi opens new Muko classrooms
The Mayor of Rusizi opens new Muko classrooms

On our first visit to Muko School in 2010 it was in quite a sorry state, since that time there have been vast improvements. There are now 32 classrooms to accommodate the 3200 pupils; but as 2200 juniors are only able to attend for a half day, clearly more classrooms are desperately needed. The other 1000 senior students benefit from the simple, charcoal-burning, but functional kitchens that we helped build two years ago. This enables them to receive a daily lunch of rice and beans.

Once again this November a small team of volunteers will be returning to continue with the maintenance that is essential to keep this school going. It is planned to extend the kitchen and toilets; water storage tanks are also desperately needed.

The volunteers were once again working with a local labour force (up to twenty last year) providing work for them for a few weeks of the year when they otherwise would be unemployed. All products used on the school are purchased locally which is a boost to their economy.

It has taken three years to build and complete the perimeter wall which now not only protects the school from damage during out of hours, it also prevents damage from flooding during heavy rain. No damage has been reported during recent rainfall.

The English language teaching programme that we have been operating for the last three years was once again a great success in 2017, and it is hoped that if a suitable teacher is available this year it will continue.                         

Our volunteers pay all their own expenses including flights and accommodation. If you have in the past made a donation to this worthy cause, I thank you, no matter how small it may be (£2 will employ and feed a person for a day) but additional funds are always required to continue the work.

Many thanks for your interest and support!

Some beautiful new toilets at Muko!
Some beautiful new toilets at Muko!

In November a small team of Hands Around The World volunteers left the UK to continue building, maintenance and teaching at Muko school in Bugarama, Southern Rwanda. 

The volunteers were once again working with a local labour force (up to 20) continuing to improve this ever-expanding school. There are now over 3000 students, two thirds of whom can only attend on a half-day basis due to lack of classrooms. The 1000 senior students who attend full-day classes now enjoy a basic daily lunch (rice and beans) since we were able to fund, build and equip the kitchens.

It has taken three years to build and complete the perimeter wall which now not only protects the school from getting damaged out of hours but also prevents damage from flooding. No damage was reported during last year’s heavy recent rainfall.

Priorities at the school were to build further much needed toilets (see picture). Finances allowed a block of 20 to be completed before the new term started in January 2018, and also installation of water tanks and cement floors of some classrooms that remained with mud floors. Two of these classrooms also had large windows fitted, allowing light and ventilation in, replacing old wooden shutters.  Along with general maintenance, this cost about £11,000 - our volunteers do their best to raise this money themselves but any donations are very welcome!

The English teaching programme we have been operating for the last three years was once again a great success.

Our volunteers pay all their own expenses including flights and accommodation. They work with a local labour force who may have no employment for the rest of the year; buying all materials locally is a boost for the local village economy.

If you have in the past made a donation to this very worthy cause, I thank you, but please note that additional funds are always required to continue with our work.

Very soon a small group of volunteers will be heading off to Muko School in southern Rwanda to continue with the work that has made so much difference to the local children and community over the past seven years.

The volunteers will be once again be working with a local labour force continuing to improve this ever-expanding school which now has nearly 3000 students, two thirds of whom can only attend on a half day basis due to lack of classrooms. The 1000 senior students who do attend full day classes are now able to enjoy a basic daily lunch due to the completion of the kitchens we were able to build and equip with donations received two years ago.

It has taken three years to build and complete the perimeter wall which now not only protects the school from getting damaged during out of hours, but also prevents damage from flooding. No damage has been reported during this year’s heavy recent rainfall.

Priority at the school this year is to build further much-needed toilets (if finances allow, a block of 20 is intended), install water tanks and replace mud with cement in the floors of some classrooms. All this, along with general maintenance, will cost in the region of £11,000 and whilst our volunteers do their best to raise this money, extra donations are always very welcome!

Our volunteers pay all their own expenses including flights and accommodation and work with a local labour force, who may have no employment for the rest of the year - buying all materials locally is a boost for the local economy.

If you have in the past made a donation this worthy cause, I thank you, but more is always needed please.

 

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Organization Information

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

Location: MONMOUTH, MONMOUTHSHIRE - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.hatw.org.uk
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
David Steiner
Executive Officer
Monmouth, Monmouthshire United Kingdom

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