We’ve Built Another Mini-Library in Rwanda

September 4, 2013  |  Articles, General  |  No Comments

 

Muhanga Youth Centre Library

This summer, the Grace Rwanda team set out to Muhanga, a rural district of 350,000 residents southeast of Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

We have been working with education officials there on an ambitious new plan. Over the next few years we are commiting to putting a mini-library in every school in the district: about 104 elementary schools and 42 secondary schools.

We want to get a book into the hands of each of Muhanga’s 87,000 students. We plan to start by fundraising to put mini-libraries in all Grades 1 to 3 classrooms, serving more than 43,500 students.

Our goal in Rwanda this summer was to get more students reading immediately. So, to kick off our Muhanga schools campaign, Grace Rwanda created and stocked a new mini-library in a community centre in Nyamabuye, called the Muhanga Youth Friendly Centre.

Youth and students from the area, about 30-50 each day, were using the facility to study and do their homework. Now, with the help of a $6,000 new mini-library, complete with new bookshelves, stacks of new books, dictionaries and periodicals, plus new tables and chairs, they have access to more books and resources to help them succeed.

The District Vice Mayor was on hand to open the new library facility and the community is very excited to move forward with Grace Rwanda on upcoming school library projects.

Check out more fantastic photos of the Muhanga project on our Flickr site.

We’re thrilled to be launching the next phase of our “Let’s Read Together” mini-libraries program this fall. Stay tuned for news about upcoming fundraisers and events to support our exciting new initiative.

Stay in the loop with us by following @GraceRwanda, liking us on Facebook, and visiting Toonies4Change.org.

Toonies 4 Change: Give the gift of reading

March 8, 2013  |  General  |  No Comments

IMG_1173 copyWe believe quality education is a fundamental tool to human development and essential to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth. Without strong literacy skills and a passion for reading, individuals are less able to access and pursue opportunities that would otherwise help them in their learning and personal development journey.

Come join us at 6:30 pm at Vancouver Public library for International Women’s Day and learn about our new initiative to buy books for Rwandan schoolchildren at Toonies4change.org.

Additionally, help us spread the word by signing our petition on change.org.

Rwandan Project Updates

October 4, 2012  |  General  |  No Comments

The new kitchen facility at the Group Scolaire of Rwinkwavu in Kayonza District In the Eastern Province has been completed!

This Facility cost just over $50,000, was completed January 2012 and it is operational, serving over 1,500 children. We thank all the donors for making this project possible.

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Grace Rwanda wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

December 12, 2011  |  General  |  No Comments

As we all spend time reflecting on the events of this past year, Grace Rwanda would like to take the opportunity to update you on how your generous financial contributions during 2011 helped change the lives of children in rural Rwanda.

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We’re In The News: Grace Rwanda featured in The Province

April 20, 2011  |  Articles, General  |  No Comments

Amazing Grace Rwanda
Fri Apr 15 2011
Section: B.C.
By Elaine O’Connor

Elizabeth M. Johnson in Rwanda copy

As a Tutsi woman living in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, Elizabeth Mujawamaliya Johnson lost almost all of her family under horrific circumstances.

It’s the kind of experience that could turn a person bitter. But instead, Johnson drew on her tragic past to create a bright future for the next generation of Rwandans, Hutu and Tutsi alike. She found an inner amazing grace and established an educational charity called Grace Rwanda.

The 44-year-old Langley woman co-founded the charity with fellow Rwandan Marie Louise Kaligirwa, another genocide survivor who lost the majority of her family. Johnson worked for CARE Australia and World Vision in Rwanda before immigrating to Canada in 1999 and Kaligirwa was an accountant working for the U.S. Embassy before moving to Canada in 1998.

The two long-lost school friends immigrated to Canada separately and reconnected in the early 2000s by chance – an acquaintance who knew that Kaligirwa wanted to move from Calgary to Vancouver gave her Johnson’s number.

“I didn’t know she was alive,” Johnson recalled. “We all were just screaming and in tears. It was really like a miracle.”

Once joyfully reunited, the pair began thinking about ways to help rebuild their country.

“We remembered the time it took to go to school every morning in Rwanda. I had to walk almost three hours. When I remembered how hard it was at that time for me, we realized we had to do something because we lived it, we knew the situation our school was in. We were sitting on the ground and in the dust with no windows or doors, walking for hours carrying only one book,” Johnson recalled.

So in 2009 they created Grace Rwanda and began fundraising to build a new school in Johnson’s old hometown of Rwinkwavu, in the eastern province near the border with Tanzania, by donating cement and steel girders to hold up the new roof. Canadian donors assisted in the building of two new classroom buildings, replacing a cramped and crumbling adobe mud brick building, and the building of new latrines, where formerly 1,400 students shared eight stalls.

Since then, they have been fundraising to build a kitchen, dining hall and a library at the school.

Read the full article in The Province