Damascene is a 13-year-old boy living in Gicumbi District. Due to a visual impairment, Damascene had never attended school. His parents thought his vision would make it too difficult for him to attend. But in February of 2016, Damascene decided to enrol in Primary One.
Damascene has always enjoyed listening to the radio, and one day he heard about a programme called “Itetero” on Radio Rwanda. “Itetero” means “children’s nurturing space” in Kinyarwanda. “I really like listening to Itetero. It teaches me how to count and learn new letters,” Damascene said.
Apart from learning, Damascene also enjoys listening to the songs from Itetero. “Abana mbere na mbere, mwishime nta kibazo; kwiga birashimisha!” (Children first! Be happy, no worries! Learning is fun!)”, Damascene sings.
At school, Damascene joined the Rights Club with 45 other students. Based on his experiences in the club, he composed a new song on children’s rights with support from one of his teachers. His song talks about children’s rights to nutrition, education, protection, health care, and identity. “My song is dedicated to all parents because I want them to know and respect children’s rights,” he says.
Itetero is entirely child-friendly, including animal and family dramas, children’s plays, a number- and letter-of-the-day, stories and songs, and expert interviews. “My favourite character is Bakame in the animal drama; he is funny and he likes playing with his friends. I also like Cyusa from the family drama; he is like a mentor for his young sister and I like that,” says Damascene.
“Itetero inspired me. I made my decision to go to school because I heard about the importance of learning in Itetero,” he says proudly.
Itetero has been renewed in 2017 with new episodes each week. It airs every Tuesday at 5:30pm on Radio Rwanda with re-broadcasting on Thursdays 6:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am.