This is the cathedral in Butare. The school was originally started by the church and at some point the church gave it to the government.
Then there was a genocide, which as you can imagine with such an atrocity, it broke the back of every system imaginable within the country. The church had not done anything to restore the school. The government had not done anything to restore the school. It was in disrepair. The educational system was still in disrepair when the first team arrived in 2007. A generation of people had been wiped out of Rwanda and a generation of people had missed their educational window. On that first trip I met teenagers who were at an early elementary educational level.
After two weeks of work, roofs had been put back on the building, windows repaired, doors rehung, bullet holes sanded down and filled in. After the 2007 team had renovated 6 classrooms and school resumed, there were 400 students at the primary school. Which was very exciting news!
As we toured the school campus just a few days ago, new buildings had been built in the past 10 years and we learned that the student body had grown to 1600 students! The community has seen the value of investing in the future of their country by the value of investing in their school. In Rwanda school is free up until university and L’Ecole Primaire de Butare has become a sought after school in the community for children to attend.
This has been the current kitchen at the school. And can you even imagine that they have been feeding 600 students lunch from this very building? Without a dedicated and permanent kitchen and cafeteria, the children eat in their classrooms.
This trip from Be The Change Volunteers changed all of this for the school. A kitchen, cafeteria and courtyard was built. Which will help sustain and also grow the amount of children they will be able to help feed during the school day. Not to mention keeping their classrooms cleaner for better learning. If those facts are not exciting enough, L’Ecole Primaire school will become the first day learning school (meaning it is not a boarding school) in the entire country of Rwanda to have a dedicated kitchen and cafeteria for their school. The school is very proud of that status they are going to hold and understandably so!
It has been 23 years since the genocide in Rwanda. It has been 10 years since the first renovation to L’Ecole Primire de Butare which helped to pick it back up off the floor. Amazing things are happening in that community and in that school. Children are understanding that education has the power to change the direction of a community and a country. The children have watched the older generation of their beloved country find a way forward as a people united and not divided. And those of you who supported myself or any other team member on this trip have helped to further show this community they are remembered, they are loved, they are valued, they are headed in the right direction because they are being the change.