Rwanda is in central Africa, just a bit South of the equator. The small city of Nyanza is in a South-central area of Rwanda.
Peace International School came out of the ashes of the genocide almost 30 years ago—April of 1994. Bishop Denis Mugabo, founder of the school, received his first degree, a master’s in social work, from a Canadian university through World University Services. He had recently received his Master’s in Theology when the genocide was initiated. Bishop Denis returned to Rwanda once the genocide had subsided to try and find his family members. He found thousands of orphans roaming the streets without anything but agony of loss. Soon, he started a group to support the young and address their Trauma, which grew from the need to find the children’s education and a peace-loving future.
PIS aims to promote a high standard of education, peace, and sustainable development of communities, offering education and guidance to underprivileged students and accepting students regardless of religion or historical background. Grades Nursery through to grade 12. The Elementary School, Grades Nursery to Grade 6, Bishop Mugabo and his wife Dative, was built through a grant from the Japanese government in 2009 and has operated exceptionally well since opening. The students have been at the top of the class in the National Exams for grade 6.
The high school building was started in 2010 and was developed to a shell funded from various donation sources. In 2019, Gordon and Joyce Graham visited the school, and in 2020, they committed to raising the funds to complete the school. Today, the High School has transformed from grass and mud floors packed up halfway on the back wall to tiled floors, with no doors, window frames, or glass in the windows to complete windows and doors, no ceiling to a complete wood panel ceiling. Restrooms are now available with running water. Fifty thousand liters of rainwater is continuously collected, making much available to the residents. All of this and much more is now complete. One of the classrooms is now fully functional and has sat grade 6 students to write exams and potential teachers to fill out their applications and testing for the upcoming teaching positions. All this work has supported the Nyanza economy and helped so many families who were during COVID-19 as well. The other classrooms now only require desks, chairs, cupboards, and whiteboards; they will also be complete.
Supporting the local economy is one of the mission foundations; another is that all the donated money goes directly to the completion of the High School.
Rotarians, in 2021, provided a District Grant of USD 7500 that purchased all the ceramic flooring throughout the school and the walkway outside the teacher’s offices, including the installation, which amounted to approximately 790 square meters or 8,500 square feet of tile. It was a very generous contribution and an extremely attractive finish.
Rotarians, in 2022, provided a second District Grant of USD 7500 for all the glass on all the windows and doors, a total of approx. Eight hundred square feet, plus 33 student desks with chairs, a teacher’s desk and chair, and a classroom cabinet, all hand-crafted in Nyanza—additionally, one large whiteboard.
This window glass enclosed the school, preventing damage to the floors during the rainy season, which immediately followed the installation. A much-needed next step in the schedule. The glass is tinted to keep out the strong, hot rays of light and discourage in-lookers from disturbing the class.
The students will have live-in accommodation at the previously built dormitory, providing them three meals daily, supervision, showers, and chores. This way of life allows the children to bond, find peaceful solutions, and learn from other walks of life in an educational environment. The kitchen remains to be set up with appliances and cooking utensils.
The High School will open to grades 7 and 8 in September of 2023, the beginning of their school year, to provide a staggered ramp-up to the requirements of administration, teachers, skills, and academic provisions. The Grades 9-12 will follow in September of 2024.
Gordon and Joyce wish to take this opportunity to thank all Rotarians for all the wonderful projects they complete worldwide, making this world a much better place. We hope you continue to support peace and education in Rwanda and worldwide.
All Rotarians will be invited to attend the grand opening of the High School in March or April of 2024.