Project 2014. 5 volunteers participated in the July trip between 7/14 and 7/28. Through this effort we raised $3000 to build the structure of the library. Now there is a beautiful, clean space to fill with shelves, desks, and many books. As in many parts of Africa, there is a shortage of books in Rwanda, and because of this, books are very expensive to purchase in the country. Unfortunately, in this school there are not enough textbooks for all of the students. From the US, the volunteers brought over 200 donated English books, and this will be a good start. But the school needs many more books in Kinyarwandan, French and English to meet their curricular requirements. That will be a focus of Friends of Butare’s fundraising efforts going forward.
Meeting the students, interacting with the staff, principal, teachers, and learning about their way of life in Rwanda were very positive experiences for the volunteers. Although the school started with 500 students in 2007, there are over 1400 students now. As the conditions of the school improved over the years, the quality of the teachers and education did as well, and Butare Catholique is one of the most prestigious public schools in the area. Many students come from afar to attend this school. However, it is a public school and they have limited resources. To meet this need, Friends of Butare will continue to support the school in many ways to improve the students’ learning environment and experience.
During the week in Butare, volunteers visited with the pre-K and kindergarten classes and sang songs with them. To their delight we shared American sweets! Kids played gleefully in the field with home-made soccer balls.
Butare Catholique as a public school does not require tuition but families have to pay for the uniforms and books, which costs $104 per year. It may not sound like much, but many families are not able to afford this. With the donations we collect from our generous donors, we would be able to send more students to this school.