HUYE - President Paul Kagame, last Friday donated 12 hand knitting machines to the Butare centre of the deaf that is run by the Brothers of St Gabriel. The donation follows a visit by the President in 2003 where he pledged support to the school.
The Minister of State for Community Development and Social Affairs in the Ministry of Local Government, Christine Nyatanyi, who delivered the donation, said that it was the President’s wish to have all children attend school.
The Minister commended teachers at the school for the unrivalled sacrifice and commitment to their work of facilitating the education of children with hearing and speech impairments which she said, ‘many a time calls for special skills and dedication.’
“Your love for work and willingness to work under difficult conditions should be an example to the rest,” she said.
The minister called upon pupils at the school to seize the opportunity provided by the special needs school to excel in their education.
This latest donation follows that of Rwf30million which was used in renovating of the school’s buildings.
“Last year, with the assistance from the President, we were able to re-roof our buildings which were in a sorry state, we are grateful to him for his continued support to the school,” said Bro Jean Claude Munyaneza, the director of the school.
The Butare centre for the deaf and dumb has 155 children under its care. Pupils at the school undergo a three year communications skills program after which they are selected for formal and vocational education training.
“Those who succeed in the communication skills program go on to join the formal education system where they enroll in neighbouring schools, those who fail, enroll for vocational training programs offered by our centre,” said the school’s director.
The school is however, faced with challenges of limited infrastructure and high turnover of teaching staff.
“Currently we have over 200 of such children on the waiting list,” he said
“Retaining our good teachers is also becoming increasingly difficult since they do exceptional work but continue to earn a ‘normal’ teacher’s salary.”
“This is more of a calling than a normal teaching job, we do extra work which are not paid for, teachers who cannot stand the conditions unfortunately leave the school,” said Eugenia Baziki who has taught at the school for four years.