Children
 Rwanda
Project #10392

Helping Rwandan Children out of Poverty

by HANDS AROUND THE WORLD
Approaching Bugarama
Approaching Bugarama

If our two and a half day trip home was a bit traumatic, which started with fog at Kigali airport in Africa (unbelievable to most friends and family) and ending by missing our return flight to Jersey from Gatwick, it was, about the only thing that went wrong on our latest, very successful latest trip to Muko School.

Upon arrival on the 14th November we arrived at our accommodation, which this year was to be in Bugarama. After a nights sleep and breakfast of bread and omelettes, it was time to visit the School and meet friends old and new, a lot of which were ready to join our workforce for the next three a half weeks, a day of preparation and then the work began on this ever expanding school, soon 25 local people were working with great enthusiasm, cleaning, mending, and fixing anything that needed it, After visits to the local store to purchase copious amounts of paint, the task of painting the now 36 classrooms began the next day.

I addition to this general maintenance work, the School had their own ongoing priorities of building works that they wished us to continue with. The perimeter wall has been ongoing over the last three years, and subject to there being enough money available it was hoped to complete it this year. Also there were still the two old classrooms (the original school) that are without adequate light and ventilation in them. New larger window have been on the waiting list for a number of years now.
After receiving tenders from four local builders, and the school able to donate 10 lorry loads of stones and 12 bags of cement, plus a small cash injection there was just enough money to continue with this work.

It is hoped that that the completion of the west wall will prevent the flooding that occurs at the school during the raining season. This work was still in progress when we left, regular photos of the works progress are being received. This work is providing work for around another thirty local people.

It’s not all work, and weekends and some evening are taken up with visits to the odd bar or two, one in particular having live African music in Kamembe, dinner with priests and pastors, we were also highly honoured to be asked to visit the bishops residence, who then treated us to dinner. A sunday morning visit to the local church service is an experience, if only to witness volunteers Myfanwy and Mike Haden in the local choir, complete with appropriate Dress/Shirt. And one of the highlights must have been when I had approx. 1000 people sing happy birthday to me in the church at Muko School.

A trip to the hot springs is also a must when staying in Bugarama. As is the Emeraude restaurant alongside Lake Kivu. A 10k? walk/run was endured by some, one Saturday morning, and a local football match is often to be found somewhere.

Muko School has come a long way in the seven years since my first visit in 2010, unfortunately there will always be maitenance work to do which is now attended by over 2800 children, we have built toilets and a new kitchen block, installed water tanks, plus the perimeter wall, but there is always going to be wear and tear.

Your support continues to make a difference to the children at Miko School,

Thank You


Dennis Spencer



Teaching English at Muko School
Teaching English at Muko School

This was my third trip to Rwanda and once again, it was a pleasure to help with English language teaching in Bugarama.

We were greeted in Kamembe by some old friends including Wellars, Jean and Georgine. It was great to see all of them again. We took taxis from Kamembe to Bugarama and settled in to our accommodation. On my previous visits, we had stayed at St. Francoise, but this time we stayed in a house in Bugarama. On the one hand, this meant that we didn’t have to spend an hour or so travelling from St. Francoise to Bugarama each day, which made things easier. Not that it was a bad commute of course…. Travelling through the Rwandan countryside with sweeping views over the hills is quite a good way to travel to work every day!

 As with previous visits, the emphasis was on building the teachers’ communicative competence by focussing on grammar and vocabulary and then using speaking activities to allow them to make active use of the language which they had learned. Between 10 and 25 teachers attended each day. The lowest attendance was on the first Friday, which was due to heavy rain and the highest attendance was on the final day.

Overall, this was an enjoyable visit. It was really good to see that there had been improvements in the level of English of some of the teachers, especially the lower level ones. It was also good to see how much progress had been made on the building works, especially at Mirabura school which is now very different to the first time I visited it in 2015.

 

Ideas for the future

  • Continued English Language support for teachers. Not only teachers from Muko, but also other teachers in the future

  • A focus on methodology used for teachers with a higher level of English

  • Collaborative teaching with a native speaker

  • Provision of teaching resources such as flashcards and dictionaries with the possible creation of a self-study area for teachers to improve their level of English in their own time

  • Of course, the ideal would be to have a teacher present at the school for a longer period of time who could be involved in providing English language support to pupils and teachers.

 

Ceri Thomas

On the 13th of November there will be a team of four volunteers going to continue the work at Muko School. We have once again managed to include Ceri an English teacher who will be teaching the teachers, not only from this school, but also from other schools in the area. This teaching program has proved to be very successful over the last few years, is well attended and appreciated by all that are present.

The remaining volunteers along with a local labour force will continue with the very successful maintenance program that has transformed the School for its 1700 pupils.

The School’s principal has requested that completing the building of the perimeter wall remain a priority, this is helping to reduce damage to the classrooms out of school hours, and also prevent flooding of the classrooms during the rainy season.

There are still a number of classrooms with mud floors which would benefit from being concreted. These classrooms have no windows, only a hole in the wall which does not allow adequate ventilation. Larger windows would of course also benefit the 40-60 pupils who study in there.

Last year we were able to raise enough funds to build some additional toilets; also a replacement kitchen block, which although still rather basic, allows beans and rice to be cooked for the senior students. Additional water tanks are still required, to allow washing after using the toilets. The general cleaning, painting and repairing is still ongoing.

Nearly all of this work is carried out by the local team, with all materials being bought locally. Obviously finances are required to carry out this work, although all of our volunteers pay their own expenses and fares.

If you have in the past made a donation this very well worthy cause - well done! I thank you, and look forward to updating you further on our return.

Last Year
Last Year's English Class

It's now very likely that there will once again be a small group of volunteers returning to help at Muko School in Bugarama for several weeks before Christmas.

Probably a group of four in all, one of whom is a TEFL specialist keen to return to teach English to the teachers of this school and others in surrounding areas. In Rwanda the first language is Kinyarwanda and the second is French, but in recent years the government has promoted a move to become English-speaking and has joined the Commonwealth. Our teaching programme has proved to be very successful over the last few years; it is well attended and appreciated by all participants.

The remaining volunteers, along with a local labour force, will continue with the maintenance program that has transformed the school for its 1700 pupils.

Last year we were able to raise enough funds to build a replacement kitchen block which, although still basic by western standards, allows beans and rice to be cooked for the senior school students.

Additional toilets and water tanks have also now been installed, which allows hand washing after using the long-drop toilets.

The school has asked that completing the perimeter wall remain a priority - this is helping to reduce damage to the classrooms, and also flooding of the classrooms during the rainy season.

The general cleaning, painting and repairing is still ongoing.

Of course all of this work has to be financed, and any donations are much appreciated. Our volunteers pay their own expenses and fares.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support!

The School floods easily in the rainy Season
The School floods easily in the rainy Season
Children of Bugarama
Children of Bugarama

Once again, my thoughts are turning to another visit to Muko School in Bugarama in the autumn.

We will hopefully be a group of four volunteers, including one returner who will again teach English to the teachers of Muko and the other schools in surrounding areas. This teaching program has proved to be very successful over the last few years, is well attended and appreciated by all present.

The other volunteers along with a local labour force will continue with the very successful maintenance program that has transformed the school to a good standard for its 1700 pupils.

Last year we were able to raise enough funds to build some additional toilets, plus a replacement kitchen block (by western standards still rather basic but it allows beans and rice to be cooked for the senior students). Additional water tanks have now been installed for washing in the toilets. The perimeter wall that has been a priority for the last three years is now nearing completion, and general cleaning, painting and repairing is still ongoing.

Would you like to volunteer to come with us? Or do you know someone who would? It's a great experience, very fulfilling and extremely worthwhile. Get in touch now on 01600 740317 or email david@hatw.org.uk

All of this work has to be financed, and although all of our volunteers pay their own expenses and fares, all donations are of course much appreciated! Thank you for your support.

 

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Organization Information

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

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

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