Orphans to miss school until new sponsor is found
GICUMBI — The Multi-Activity Programme (MAP) has stopped sponsoring AIDS orphans in Gicumbi District, officials announced on Wednesday.
The move has affected over 520 students in different secondary schools in the district, but 80 orphans from APAPEB High School in Byumba Sector, have already been dismissed for lack of school fees.
The coordinator of the Gicumbi District AIDS Control Committee (CDLS), Fanuel Nzitabakuze said MAP announced the decision early this year. The funds have always been channelled through CDLS.
“We have communicated to the affected students about this unfortunate development and advised them to look for alternative sponsors,” said Nzitabakuze. The students stormed the district to plead for their case.
“We have nobody to plead to since our sponsor Rwanda Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (RRP), which is under CDLS has said there is no more school fees assistance for us,” said one student.
Emmanuel Karekezi, the head of academics at APAPEB said the Minister of State for Education, Théoneste Mutsindashyaka, had communicated the new measures to schools while meeting head teachers ahead of the beginning of this academic year, at Hotel la Palisse.
“We have informed these students about the minister’s verbal message and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Karekezi.
He disclosed that there are over 15,000 AIDS orphans studying in secondary schools who could be affected countrywide.
Deogratious Mwanafunzi, the acting Director of education, said the district shall ensure the affected students continue with their studies.
“The district’s role is to defend the rights of vulnerable students so that they continue with their studies,” he said.
He declined to mention other donors they have contacted saying, “I still have to discuss it with my superiors.”