Custom designed baskets

Lin just returned from Rwanda with some baskets custom-designed for Friends of Butare in the “remembrance” purple in a star design that links to other starts – the closest we could come to “hands across the sea”. You can help support the widows who weave the baskets and the Friends of Butare by purchasing the baskets at $45 USD.

2012 Friends of Butare Remembrance Purple Basket

2012 – A New Year and a new religious leader at L’Ecole

Word has reached the US and Sister D has been replaced by Brother “X” – which is how I”ll refer to him until we know his name. Beata is in contact with him to confirm that he wants to continue working with Friends of Butare. He needs to submit a plan to use the 20 computers ready to ship from Dover, NH to Butare, and we have to introduce him to the local Rotary Club to see if they can work together to build a good computer lab.

Apparently our suggestions to be more entrepeneurial are proving fruitful: tuition is now being charged! Each student now pays 5,000 Rwf/term with the proceeds apparently going into a fund to help pay the teachers more than the 20,000 Rwf ($40) paid by the government.

Once confirmation is received, Lin McIntosh will head to Rwanda to coordinate the development of a Rotary matching grant to built the computer lab and to work with Ben Kayumba of Good News International in the development of his strategic plan to generate new economic activities for widows and orphans in Rwanda.

2011 update

Lin McIntosh visited the school in December, 2011 to check the condition of the work done over the past five years. There is some good news and there is some bad news. The school is not so clean as it was when Sister V was there, windows have been broken by sports equipment, latrine doors are missing locks or missing totally, and there is chalk graffiti on some doors that needs to be taken care of.

The Headmaster is non responsive although his last telephone conversation proudly announced that they had a great association with parents and teachers and they had added pre-school classes and were charging 25,000 Rwf/term for the pre-school, and there was a waiting list. My obvious question is why the school isn’t in better, condition.

I met a new friend when I arrived at the Good News Guest House, Ben Kayumba. Ben is a former Methodiste minister who has dedicated himself to making money for the rest of his life in order to create lives for the widows and orphans of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. He knows how things are done in Rwanda, and he’s been a huge help to me. I introduced him to Vincent Semuhungu who has done all the work at the school who is most distressed at the condition of the school. Ben challenged Vincent to contact the Headmaster’s supervisor to find out why the Headmaster is not being supervised by the Bishop’s representative to manage the assets that have been given to them. I have hope that Ben and Vincent will become fast friends and will work together to build a community in Butare that will take responsibility for maintaining the school.

The exterior of the school – the landscaping – looks wonderful.

I have not been able to find Sister V who is somewhere in Kigali studying.

Sister D who took the place of Sister V is no longer at the school.

School starts on January 9; so I hope that a work day with students, parents, and teachers can be organized to clean the classrooms before school starts. Keep your fingers crossed for L’Ecole!

Friends of Butare

Butare is located two hours south of the capital Kigali in Rwanda the country of the thousand mountains. L’Ecole Primaire Catholique de Butare, is a public primary school in Butare. Built in 1930 by catholic missionaries, the school has approximately five hundred students enrolled. All of the school buildings were damaged or destroyed during the genocide war of 1994. The buildings on the school grounds are in dire need of repair and the students are missing all essentials.

Friends of Butare are commited to help this school and the students attending. We are a group of people willing to help. You may join us or simply make a donation for one of our future projects here.