Monday, April 14, 2008

Rwanda on the Horizon

This week at the school we will be visited by a Sister of St. Mary of Namur who was the principal of Sainte Marie School in Kibuye, Rwanda. The information received from Sr. Immaculee Mukabugabo was very interesting. They are primarily a boarding school with 303 students, 301 girls and 2 boys. 293 of the students are boarders living on campus and 10 come in each day from the town. The students range in age from 12 - 19.

At each level of the educational process the students must take a National Exam and this determines whether or not the student progresses to the next level. The 6th year of Primary results in the National Exam and if a student does not pass they may take 6th grade for up to 4 times. She did not say what happened if they did not pass after that time. The students then move to the secondary school cycle which has two levels a basic studies and a senior cycle of high school. Each of these also ends with aNational Exam to see if the student progresses to the next level.

Tuition at this school is $163 for older students and first year students pay $195. They take 7 to 8 hours of classes a day and also help with the care of the classrooms and the campus before classes begin. When Sr. Immaculee was asked about needs of the school, the first thing mentioned was more classrooms to accomodate the children that want to come to school. They just don't have enough rooms. The second thing mentioned was the lack of Internet access. They have no telephone connection at the school because of the expense of getting the line to the school. Her third item was a parabolic antenna for being able to access television so that students could at least know what was going on elsewhere in the world.

As I reflected on all the things we have available to our students, I thought there has to be a way to make some of these things happen. I am currently part of a team that hopes to journey to Rwanda in December to make connection with the school and the teachers there. My hope is to also help begin to bridge the gap that they are experiencing. The one thing that Sister mentioned was that the poverty of the students and the families they come from is so incredible and then for them to try and pay $160-$195. If we can get them on the web the need for a better vehicle to take the students on educational field trips is lessened to some degree because then the world is open to them.

I look forward to the trip and I look forward to any and all input for ways to help make some of these things happen. More information will be forthcoming when Sr. Immaculee Mukabugabo visits on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

So many gifts and so many to share.

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