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The Story Of A Struggling Nursery School In Rwanda’s Rich Neighborhood

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Inequality manifest itself in many ways, and the one showing in Rwanda’s richest neighborhoods has a different skin color. There are two types of families in the neighborhood. The filthy rich and the filthy poor.

The rich send their children to good schools and the poor will have their children stay home or meander on the streets unattended to.

Four years ago, Catherine Niyonsaba and her husband, both residents of Nyarutarama, a swanky neighborhood in Kigali city, started a nursery school and named it ‘Like Child Nursery School’.

The idea was to help poor children whose parents could not afford luxurious nurseries such as the prestigious Green Hills Academy where Rwanda’s elites take their children.

It was not that easy, though. Luckily, she and her husband and three of her sons are all trained teachers. They all agreed to start and work for the school.

When they started in 2013, there were no chairs and other facilities such as toys. Worse, there were not enough funds to run it.

“We started with no desks for children to sit on, except for some simple chairs,” Niyonsaba says.

At first, they taught street children because their parents were poor and could not afford their education. “Later on, other parents started showing interest in sending their children here.” Niyonsaba said.

However, despite the step which has been made, they are still struggling with lack of financial capacity. School fees charged cannot cover expenses. “If we had a chance to get a sponsor and a good environment we would expand our school, ” Niyonsaba explains.

Despite these struggles, they do their best so that it does not affect the quality of education given to the children. The vision is to expand the school and combine nursery, primary and secondary level.

“If we have enough money, we would buy land somewhere and build a bigger school…that is the wish that we even pray to God for, ” says Laban Mukunzi, one of the founders and also a teacher.

Some parents already praise the school for the quality of education it offers because these teachers are not motivated by the desire to make money.

A pupil (graduate) writes down her names on a chalk board during the graduation ceremony to prove to parents that they know how to read and wrote.

Etienne Mukeshimana’s six-year-old daughter has graduated from the school. “This school has been extremely useful. I brought my daughter here when she was very young. She would cry when I said goodbye. And she had not yet learned to sit down or go to the washroom by herself.”

Now, the father says, the girl knows how to read and write. Now she can write both her names.

In addition, Mukeshimana says that, at home, her daughter outsmarts other children even those who are in primary school. She is surprised at how the little girl has learnt so much in such an environment.

The school, it seems, can do well. However, the lack of ideal resources and financial support is still a big challenge.

Meanwhile, Niyonsaba is appealing to local authorities to help her and secure funding.

Today, the school has more than 40 pupils, a few desks, washrooms and caretakers.

While Rwanda has made good steps towards improving access to education, figures indicate that pre-primary school participation is still low which could possibly affect the quality of education even up to high levels.

According to figures from UNICEF, between year 2008 and 2012 regarding pre-primary school participation, the gross enrollment ratio for male children was at 11.1 % while for female children the ratio was at 11.7%.

Also, nationally, 11% of children of official primary school ages are out of school. And approximately 12% of boys of primary school age are out of school compared to 10% of girls of the same age. For children of primary school age in Rwanda, the biggest disparity can be seen between the children from poorest and the richest families.

Nearly 25% of female youth of secondary school age are out of school compared to 25% of male youth of the same age. For youth of secondary school age, the biggest disparity can be seen between urban and rural youth.

It has also been argued that the low quality of graduates from universities and colleges is attributed to a poor background right from pre-primary school.

There are many ‘Like Child Nursery School’ and they could be a suitable vindication of the situation.

Catherine Niyonsaba

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National

Uganda Dumps More 47 Rwandans At Border

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Rwandan authorities on Saturday received an extra 47 Rwandans expelled by Uganda authorities.

Details indicate that Uganda Immigration authorities on Saturday afternoon deported 47 (including;29 males and 9 Females and 9children) Rwandan nationals from Uganda accused of illegal entry and stay.

“They are going to be tested of Covi-19 and will be interviewed for more details,” Rwanda authorities said.

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Minister Ugirashebuja In DRC For EAPCCO General Meeting

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Dr. Emmanuel Ugirashebuja, on Friday, October 15, attended the 23rd Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO) annual general meeting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The meeting for Council of Ministers responsible for Police affairs in the 14-member countries, preceded the Council of Police Chiefs held on Thursday under the theme “Enhancing law Enforcement Strategies in Combating Transnational Organized Crimes in the Wake of COVID-19 and Beyond.”

EAPCCO member states are Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The ministers appreciated EAPCCO member countries for their effort in combating terrorism and transnational organized crimes through enhanced cooperation and collaboration.

While officially opening the meeting, the Prime Minister and Chief of Government for DRC, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, emphasized the importance of sub-regional organizations in the fight against transnational organized crimes.

“There is need to foster cooperation and to build capacity of law enforcement officers, continually share information and conduct due diligence on suspects,” Lukonde said.

He commended member countries for the continued support to DRC President, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo in his roles as the current President of African Union.

DR Congo took over the chairmanship for both councils of Police Chiefs and ministers responsible for the Police affairs, from Tanzania.

The ministers welcomed the decision by the Council of Police Chiefs to elevate the Marine Police College in Mwanza, Tanzania to EAPCCO Centre of Excellence in Maritime Police training.

DR Congo was also given the responsibility to establish a regional operation unit under EAPCCO Counter Terrorism Centre of Excellence (CTCoE) to collect, analyze and disseminate terrorism related information for action.

Other resolutions include expediting EAPCCO Centers of Excellence by host countries, strengthening sharing of crime-related information on transnational organized crimes and heightening the use of Interpol policing capabilities to facilitate the process.

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Thomas Sankara’s Assassination Trial Adjourned To October 21

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Burkina Faso’s former president Thomas Sankara was assassinated 34 years ago in a military coup bringing an end to a charismatic Marxist revolutionary widely known as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’.

Immediately after Sankara’s murder, his wife Mariam Sankara and their two children Philippe Sankara and Auguste Sankara fled to Burkina Faso in 1987.

Thomas Sankara seized power in a 1983 coup at the age of 33 with promises to tackle corruption and the dominance of former colonial powers.

Mariam Sankara on Monday flew back to Ouagadougou for the opening of the trial of her husband’s murder. 14 people are accused of plotting the assassination.

Among the accused includes Blaise Compaore the man who was a close ally to Mr Sankara. Blaise Compaore led a military coup that toppled Sankara and his immediate execution.

Compaore went on to rule the West African nation for almost three decades before he himself was ousted and fled to neighbouring Ivory Coast.

This trial has been highly awaited as the murder of Sankara has mysterious ramifications and has remained a very sensitive subject across the continent.

At the opening trial, Compaore was not present. The former first lady told media that the absence of former president Blaise Compaoré, the main suspect in her husband’s assassination, was a “shame”, adding: “I really hope that this trial will shed some light.”

However, Compaore’s lawyers said on Friday that he would not attend the trial, and Ivory Coast has refused to extradite him.

She said, “this trial is needed so that the culture of impunity and violence that still rages in many African countries, despite the democratic facade, stops indefinitely.”

Other suspects in the murder of Sankara include; Hyacinthe Kafando (Compaore’s former head of security), Gen. Gilbert Diendere, a former spy-master.

According to details, the hearing was held in the Ouaga2000 conference centre in the capital, Ouagadougou. Twelve other defendants appeared at the hearing and all pleaded not guilty.

The military tribunal opened the proceedings, then adjourned the hearing until Oct. 25, after defence lawyers asked for more time to prepare their case, court officials said.

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