Meg Fletcher from the KINAMBA Project - Host Peter Gardner

Wed 13th September 2017 at 18.30 - 20.00

A Talk by Meg Fletcher on the Kinamba Community Project in Kigali, Rwanda, to the Rotary Club of Furness on the 13th September 2017.

Meg explained that the Kinamba Community Project is a schools project in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda with nursery, primary and now secondary school pupils.
This not only involves teaching, but in many ways importantly, giving the children a nutritious meal before and during school.
Families in Kigali are very poor and food prices are high. Some children come to school having not had anything to eat since their last school meal the previous day!
The infant school children get a nutritious porridge at breakfast every school day and a bread roll is added when available. There are signs of malnutrition in all these children.
The primary school children get a vegetable meal with soya and sometimes dried fish at lunchtime. The Project also gives meals to the teachers ( who also have problems buying food for themselves and their families).
As a treat, the children were given apples, which they had never seen before!
Meg also explained that, as the Project is now been in action for ten years, some of the children have reached secondary school eligibility. Due to the meals provided by the project, these children have done a lot better at school than otherwise, and are thus able to apply to go on with their education.
The majority of secondary education in Rwanda is private and residential, and so costs about £450 per year on average per pupil. In addition, pupils have to provide  for themselves, a box with relevant books, blankets, mattresses, pillows, toilet rolls, soap (personal and clothes washing), cup, plate, a jerry can for water and sometimes a hoe to help in the garden! All this has to be piled onto the bus that takes the children to school!
The ability of the individual students is the factor which is looked at by the different schools and some pupils of exceptional ability will be accepted at the elite schools.
Six girls (good at playing cricket) have been accepted at a school specialising in sports and has grants from the charity “Cricket without Boundaries”. One of them is an ace bowler!
A Boy has been accepted at an elite school, where the President’s children are pupils ( he wants to be a Doctor!)
A big challenge for the project is changing the attitudes of the children. They are given every opportunity to excel and to achieve what is possible. The culture is to give them hope for the future and both girls and boys can succeed.
The Project has 114 children in the nursery/infant class and 134 children in the primary class. There are up to 39 children in secondary education with another 18 in January. None of the teenage secondary school age children would have that opportunity without the Project providing finance and equipment.
The personal lives of these children are for the most part very tragic and poignant with loss of both parents and/or carers, exclusion from the family home and homelessness, all overcome with stoicism and bravery.
After answering a few questions, Meg was thanked by Rotarian Peter Gardner and all responded warmly. Meg was then presented with a cheque from the Club to help with the Project.

Reported by Rtn Frank Randall PHF