Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof

by Bread and Water for Africa UK
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Save our School: 230 Burundian Pupils Need a Roof
Children eating their school snack
Children eating their school snack

We’re really delighted to tell you that thanks to your generous support not only could the Murakaza School be rebuilt after the storm it has been able to build kindergarten rooms, providing 94 places to give the youngest children in the community a good start in life.

Altogether we have 260 children at the Murakaza School and Kindergarten, so we now have four teachers plus three nursery teaching assistants, and one assistant in first primary. It’s stretching our budget, so we hope you can help us by providing funds to employ a nursing assistant.

A bowl of porridge for each child every day for a year

We’ve now providing breakfast for children at the school, giving each child a daily bowl of fortified of porridge that contains all the vitamins and minerals they urgently need.

This started after our teachers noticed that many of the children were too hangry to concentrate and fell asleep during lessons and didn’t have the energy to play during recess. They realised that many children come from families, which are just too poor to feed their children every day.

We identified that a simple bowl of fortified porridge was easy, cheap and quick to make and gave the children the energy and nutrition they need. We asked for your help, and you responded so we were able to give the school enough money to equip a small food preparation area, eating utensils for the children and porridge and vital supplements. In September 2018 the first batch of porridge was served. It is astonishing to see the difference: the children are healthier, more focused and less absent due to illnesses. 

With your help, we can make sure the children at Murakaza keep getting this source of nutrients each day. With just £24 ($32), we can provide a bowl of porridge every single day for one child for a whole year.

Giving parents a livelihood

CAPE is also supporting the children’s parents by running a sewing workshop to teach them to sew, to give them the chance to earn a living by making and repairing clothes for families in their communities. At the moment, parents at the workshop earn money by making school uniforms for Murakaza School. However, we need more sewing machines, as there aren’t enough to go round. They’re expensive to buy (£183/$245 each), so we are asking you to help us by giving some financial support to buy more machines.

As we mentioned the school has been rebuilt and, and thanks to you generous support, can now offer additional kindergarten places. However, CAPE continues to need your support for its school feeding programme, teachers and assistants salaries and sewing machines, so please look at our other CAPE project “A start in life for 230 children in Burundi”.

Getting the porridge ready
Getting the porridge ready
CAPE kindergarten children
CAPE kindergarten children
CAPE school
CAPE school
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The nursery section during drawing class
The nursery section during drawing class

We made it!

Thanks to the generous support of those of you who responded to our requests for funds to rebuild the Murakaza School after recent flooding, the work is now completed. The refurbished building, plus the new classroom has given the school staff a real boost, as this makes their job so much easier, and means our children will get a good education at Primary level.

At the beginning of the academic year this September, we were overwhelmed by the requests from desperate parents who wanted to enroll their children. We now have a total of 230 students: 160 in primary and 70 in nursery class. 

One of them is 4 year old Aimee, who has joined our "little" nursery section (first year). Although she had never hold a pen or pencil before joining the school, she can now draw and recognise shapes and colours. The positive impact of early childhood education in children's development is well-known. Teachers and parents alike notice the striking difference in children after they've spent even just a few months in class. We know that Aimee will benefit from her years at Murakaza for her entire education and even her entire life.

Thanks to the generous support of those who donated to our Save our School project, we were able to prevent Murakaza from crumbling and continue to help children to get an education, but the story isn’t finished yet. Although we are now closing this project, we still need your help to keep the school running. To pay for books, visual aids, benches and teachers' salaries. We can't do any of it without you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your ongoing support!

Please consider making a donation to our project: A Start in Life for Burundian Children, by clicking here.

And one more favour: please sign up for our newsletter so we can send you occasional updates about Murakaza and our other projects.

Thank you once again and happy holidays!

New toilets
New toilets
Breakfast time!
Breakfast time!
The refurbished primary class
The refurbished primary class
The second classroom built for the nursery
The second classroom built for the nursery

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The end of the school year is near, but the the Murakaza school will remain open throughout the summer. This is to avoid leaving the children at home on in the streets. The academic programme is lightened with more extra curricular activities such as sports, games, singing and crafts.

As the Murakaza School is located in a slum on the outskirts of Bujumbura, the intake is from very poor families who cannot afford the public school, which, although technically free, have to pay for uniforms, books and fees for school upkeep. As attendance at Murakaza School is free, this helps parents to see the benefits of schooling, so when their children are ready to integrate into public schools, they are prepared to make the sacrifices to give their children an education. After the summer, a number of students will integrate the national school system. 

Thirteen year-old Rodrigue who now attends Kinama secondary school, describes the effect the school had on him “I learned French, Kirundi and maths from scratch, then I could go to public school. I am the first in my class and I have good marks in every subject. The school really helped me and now I know that if I focus and work hard I will have good results. I am very proud to be the first Murakaza child to go to secondary school”.

Eleven year old Patrick, who attends Buyenzi primary school: “I stayed two years at the school and it helps me a lot as we study the same subjects here at public school. We are ten children at home. My father sells wooden cupboards and my mother produces vegetables. We are really poor and we do not eat everyday but our parents insist that we go to school. So all my brothers, sisters and I (except the little ones) go to public school. I want to continue school and later I would like to be a doctor to help my community.”

Girls are encouraged to attend the school, which helps to reverse the trend where only boys are considered worth educating.

Fifteen year old Alice Irankunda says: I studied two years at the school, I then went to public school but had to quit and came back here to study one more year. I learned French, Kirundi and counting. This helped me when I had to go back to public school. I try to have good marks but it is not always easy. I am good at geography and French but I have problems with mathematics. Later, I would like to be a jurist because I love changing things.”

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Children receiving their new uniforms
Children receiving their new uniforms

February 20th was a very special day for the children at the Murakaza school. After weeks of hard work, the school uniforms were finally ready for all the students. This was an occasion to celebrate!

I was lucky enough to be there to witness it all, as the “uniform party” was conveniently timed for my visit. The look on the children’s face when they received their very own uniform was priceless.

That was just the beginning though, thanks to kind donations from the French Consulate of Bujumbura and the Café Gourmand, which has been supporting the project for quite some time, the children also received some food.

And it wouldn’t be a real party without confetti and some dancing and singing. Who knew the cheap confetti bought at the Chinese supermarket would be such a hit! My ears are still ringing from all the excitement and joy.

See for yourself: VIDEO

Distributing food to over 200 children in a short amount of time is quite a task which required all hands on desk. I started with cutting the baguette, but Francoise pointed out that my parts weren’t equal: “You can’t do this, she said. Some will have a smaller piece, that’s not fair.” I thought she might be exaggerating a little, but when I realised how hungry the children were and how grateful they were for that piece of bread, I understood that a few bites make a big difference when you haven’t had a proper meal in a few days.

Hunger is a huge problem at Murakaza, and many of the children don’t eat even one meal per day. The teachers can tell immediately: they can spot a child who isn’t properly fed by how they behave in class. They will be tired, half asleep during class and incapable of playing around with the others during the breaks. Sometimes, they can’t even find the strength to go back home and the staff have to find a little something for them to have enough energy for the journey home.

To tackle this problem, we’re launching a “Food Bank” micro project which will allow Murakaza to provide a daily snack made of fortified porridge (consisting of flour and all the vitamins and minerals the children need). Rather incredibly, this project will cost just £24 per child per year. You can donate to this microproject HERE.

Children at the school
Children at the school
Food being distributed
Food being distributed

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The day of bread distribution is always a feast
The day of bread distribution is always a feast

1) You are amazing: thanks to your support we were able to save the Murakaza school. We have now almost completed the construction works for the classrooms, kitchen area and teachers' accommodations. The only things left to build are the toilets and showers. This should be done before Christmas.

2) You went above and beyong: not only did you allow us to rebuild the school, but thanks to the ongoing support of our direct debit donors, we are able to ensure that the children continue to have a safe place to learn and play every day. Your contributions help pay for the teachers salary, notebooks, pencils, chalk, etc. Because a school isn't just a building, it couldn't function without all these other things. £12 a month could help cover some of these essential expenses.

3) You give us a purpose: sometimes it feels really hard to keep going despite the adversities, especially in a place like Burundi where the situation has been particularly difficult over the past two years. Francoise, the director of CAPE, insists that the moral support is almost as important as the financial one. Knowing that people like you care is sometimes the little bump of motivation we need when everything else seems bleak.

We couldn't do what we do without you. We hope you know how important you are to us and to the children we serve at the Murakaza school.

Keep being awesome!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

New desks and more room to learn
New desks and more room to learn
The teachers' accommodations are almost ready
The teachers' accommodations are almost ready

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Organization Information

Bread and Water for Africa UK

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @bwauk
Project Leader:
Sylvia Costantini
London, United Kingdom

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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