President Paul Kagame yesterday said that the partnership that exists between Rwanda and the UK’s Conservative Party is meaningful and will help people back in the UK understand Rwanda better.
The Head of State made the remarks yesterday while officiating at the commissioning a modern primary school named Girubuntu, built with the help of UK volunteers under the annual Conservatives Umubano Project.
Speaking at the ceremony attended by UK Secretary for International Development, Andrew Mitchell and over 100 Conservatives from the UK, President Kagame said that the partnership is important because the volunteers know the actual story on the ground.
“This kind of partnership is very meaningful in another very important way. When hundreds come all the way from the UK to Rwanda and interact with our citizens even in the remotest parts of our country…” President Kagame said.
“….they help bring good understanding of the situation in Rwanda to the people in places they have come from, in a way that is different from what you normally read in newspapers and on the internet and other places.”
The President said that the presence of the volunteers and the stories they take back home will go a long way in demystifying the falsehoods that have been peddled against Rwanda.
“When you go back to your own country, I am sure you will enlighten those who don’t understand this story of Rwanda and who do not understand us, that we have no monsters here in Rwanda,”
“We have decent people, we have leaders who care for their own people and who love and who are loved by their own people and that if monsters are about giving children like these decent living, health, education and self respect of Rwandans, then we will plead guilty,” the Head of State said.
President Kagame commended Girubuntu Association and the many Rwandans who in a similar spirit of volunteerism gave their time and resources to the less privileged in the society, despite their modest means, to build the school.
“Girubuntu Primary School that we have visited is a result of the Umubano Project but it is also a symbol of something much bigger, -the strong relationship that exists between the people and the government of Rwanda and those of the UK,” he said
He noted that the selection of Kinyarwanda names Umubano and Girubuntu were “very well chosen” and they appropriately convey this relationship, as well as the commitment and generosity of the UK’s Conservative party when they were in opposition and today in Government.
The Head of State thanked the volunteers who come to Rwanda every year to support in areas including education, sports, health, water and sanitation, in the development of the judiciary and the private sector, saying that their efforts have created a strong and binding relationship.
He called on the community in Kabeza to take good care of the “very beautiful school” as their own and to make the best out of the benefits it will provide to present and future generations.
“I would like to thank the members of the Umubano Project and the many other volunteers from the UK for your true partnership and support and assure you that through you, a strong bridge has been built between our people,” President Kagame said.
The UK Secretary for International Development, Andrew Mitchell said that with the commissioning of the health centre in the southern province and Girubuntu, the 2011 Project Umubano will leave behind a legacy of partnership that is deepening ever year the Conservatives come.
“This year we have the largest number, more than 100 people committed to Umubano and committed to the work of our project,” he said, thanking President Kagame for the support to the annual project.
“There is no sight in my experience that is more uplifting than a sight of a new school in Africa with the children already assembled as they are here, keen to learn, keen to be the beating heart of their country in the next generation, turned up beautifully today and entertaining us so well,”
Mitchell said 5 years ago the conservative’s project led by the current Prime Minister David Cameron had aided the older Girubuntu School which was later closed by city authorities for not meeting city standards until MP Brooks Newmark, the founder came up with an idea of a magnificent new school.
“We are all absolutely thrilled that under the leadership of Brooks Newmark, this school has come to pass. We can see it today, viewing it from the landscape across, its dominance as a beacon of hope and of exitcement for education in Rwanda,” said the British minister.
Mitchell paid tribute to the founder of the school, Brooks Newmark, Steven Crabb MP, Kitty Llewellyn and Pippa Richards who played an active role in the establishment of the school as well as all members of Umubano Project.