We have come to the end of another school year in the village school of Gasundwe, Rwanda and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support of the children during this year.
Our teacher Gabriel sent an end of year report in which he said:
‘The school year ended on 24th October 2014. During this year, out of the 60 children that started in January, 2 children have dropped out of the school because their family left the village; 3 children refused learning and stayed at home. Other children joined us during the year. We will send 57 children to Viro Primary school in January next year, 2015. But 6 children will retake school because they are still young. Next year the number of children will be over 50 I suppose. I started registration of children for 2015.’
As you know, the children that attend our village nursery school are given a protein enhanced porridge every day during term time and this builds them up physically so that when they are old enough to begin formal schooling they are strong enough to walk to school and back again at the end of their shift. (A walk of about 1½ hours each way). In my previous report I wrote about my visit to Viro Primary School to see how our children were settling into their new school. Our project is making a distinct difference to their lives and they have made an excellent start to their education. Our teacher is using interactive learning methods rather than simply ‘chalk and talk’.
The main news about the school, apart from the continuing dedication of the teacher and another set of children being cared for, is about the building. Since we started the school in 2011 we have been given the use of the church building, but now the church has built a new building for their own use and they have said that we can continue to use the original building for the project. This is wonderful news and it will allow us to develop further.
Our vision is that we can divide the building into two rooms so that we can have two classes of different age groups working at one time. One of the rooms can also be used as a training workshop for adults (eg training in the use of tools, sewing machines, knitting machines etc). There is also space for an office. In addition, because the church has built on the land which the children used as a playground we need to provide more land for them. We also need to provide new latrines which can be properly maintained.
An estimated breakdown of costs in rough terms is as follows:
Building works – 250,000 Rw Francs (£250)
Purchase of land – 800,000Rw Fr (£800)
Latrines – 307,000 Rw Francs (£307)
Personal Note: I have tried to keep the project on a small scale, but inevitably it could possibly run away with me! I have thought about this a great deal and I need advice from others. Until now I have resisted the idea of forming a charity because of the paperwork and administration that it involves. We would need to form a committee with all the legal requirements and at least one meeting per year. I cannot do this alone, but I also see that this would help the village and so I am asking for your views. Would you be prepared to be involved in such a venture on a practical level? Could you give advice and support even if you didnt want to be on the committee? Would you be prepared to continue to support financially? Please let me know your thoughts. It’s okay to be frank with me!
Whether or not we decide to form a charity I will maintain my commitment to support the village until 2020 and I hope you will feel able to do the same. If you would like me to come to you with a slide show, photos and lots more information please let me know. I would be delighted – once I start talking about Rwanda and the village it is hard to stop me!!
Other news in brief:
· A child is born! Gabriel and Christine have had their first baby.
· Knitting machine. So far, two ladies have been trained to use the hand operated knitting machine
· Sewing machines. Several ladies have been trained to use the sewing machines.
· Electricity. At the moment the only electricity in the village is supplied by our solar panels. The Government of Rwanda has indicated that the village will get electricity in 2015.
· The ‘road’ – apparently it is now possible to get to the village by motorbike! Another rough ride then!
· Water. The people of the village are beginning to contribute to the maintenance of the water supply
· Our teacher is going to ask the parents of each child to contribute 500Rw Fr (50p) for each child who attends the school – this may be a stretch for some families, but it is a start towards self-sufficiency.
I hope you have a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year of 2015.
With so much love and heartfelt thanks,
Contact details: Postal: c/o 43 Eastgate, Macclesfield, Cheshire. SK10 1RG