It is Saturday and we have been invited to the home of Marie Therese and Jean Pierre Millindi. The couple own a property on the outskirts of Kigali where Marie Therese runs a Saturday Church for needy children in the local area. Along with Bible study, the children are fed and provided with other support.
The visit is partly social but also to help Marie Therese with her work. Loanhead Parish Church and Loanhead Primary School have provided funding for four children to go to school. Angel, Daniel and Jackson are each six years old and due to start P1. Their families have little or no income. One mother has HIV and another is still in her teens. None of the three children have fathers at home and we were told that at least one has died.
Peter is seventeen years old. He was able to complete his primary education but his mother could not afford to send him to secondary school. With funding from Loanhead Church, Peter is about to start three years vocational training in catering. It is only in the past three years that vocational training has been included in the Rwandan national curriculum. It provides valuable skills for youngsters who are unlikely to progress to a college or university.
Vocational training is also a way out of the education system for those who did not progress through primary school and were made to repeat years because they didn't pass the exams. This system has thankfully now been done away with but it is not unusual yet to find primary leavers in their late teens or even early twenties.
We are grateful to Marie Therese for her help in getting these children into education. Providing funding is one thing but someone needs to make the arrangements. Marie Therese will register each child at their school and buy school uniforms and jotters. Peter will also need whites for the kitchen. This is just what we will be doing for our Nyamirambo children next week and the pressure is on to get everything done before the beginning of term a week on Monday.