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
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