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Students' testimonies
Thursday, 31 May 2012 Written by fra Ivica Perić

This time I will let the students of our Padri Vjeko Center vocational school speak for themselves. They are the best proof of what education means to the children of Rwanda. Their stories and testimonies will bring at least a little bit of the spirit and the atmosphere of this African country into your homes as well. I’ve interviewed several students in our school who are learning their trades in one of six different courses that we offer. And here’s what they have to say:

Martin Bizumutima

Martin Bizumutima“My name is Martin Bizumutima. I was born in Gisanga, Mbuye Ruhango District. I like to learn and after primary school I planned to go to the secondary school, but my parents couldn’t afford it. But then I heard about the Padri Vjeko Center, where they make it possible for young people to study and learn different trades for free. In 2010 I enrolled in the school. I chose the carpenter’s trade as my vocation. Unfortunately, after several first school days I suddenly got ill. It took four months to cure the illness. When I got better, I realized that I had missed a lot of things in school. It was impossible to catch up with the rest of the class. But they nevertheless gave me a second chance, so once again I enrolled in the school this year and started from the beginning. The education for this vocation takes two years and during that time I will learn how to make all sorts of things from wood - like tables, chairs, beds... Beside education, in the school we received many other benefits. Imagine, we have lunch each and every day here!”

Jannette Umuhoza

Jannette Umuhoza"My name is Janette Umuhoza and I come from the Musambira Sector. I’m 19 years old. My parents are farmers and I have three more sisters and two brothers. Before I enrolled in the Padri Vjeko Center, I had worked at home doing all kinds of chores. I had cooked for my family, brought water from the source, and gathered firewood we needed for cooking. I decided to enroll in the tailoring course. I am thrilled with how I was accepted in the school. Well, it’s not all so great for me. I have to travel to school for about four hours. But I got used to it. I would like to become a good tailor. My parents promised to buy me a sewing machine if I finish the school. That is why I have to be good in school, learn, and take in all the new stuff we see in practical lessons. All that will bring me a guaranteed job after I finish school!"

Claudine Niyonizera

Claudine Niyonizera"First of all, I would like to thank the staff of the Padri Vjeko Center for accepting me – and for that matter all other students – so nicely and for giving us a chance. I’m Claudine Niyonizera and I come from the Kamonyi District. I live with my Dad and two brothers. I’m simply unable to describe the joy I felt when I got the opportunity to be a student of this school! You see, last year I was in second year of an academic secondary school. However, my Dad couldn’t afford the tuition fee, which is very high in Rwanda, anymore, and I was forced to drop out. I was very unhappy. But then I got a chance to come to the Padri Vjeko Center, where young people go to school free of charge. I am immensely grateful for that! I chose carpentry because I am certain that, upon completing my education, I will easily find employment in my vocation".

Jacqueline Sibomana

Jacqueline Sibomana“I am Jacqueline Sibomana, a second-year tailoring section student. I am from Cyeza Sector, village Buruba, better known as Kigarama. I live with my parents and six brothers and sisters. To be honest, I was a little afraid when I came to the Padri Vjeko Center. I knew no one, and I didn’t know how successful I would be. And today… today I adore my classmates, my teachers, I enjoy each and every school day. Now I can say that I have two homes. One of them is my real home, where my family lives, and my other home is the school where teachers are like parents to me. In both my homes I receive education, advice, and all that I need for my future life. I dream about one day having my own business, after I finish school".

Gloriose Mucyodusenge

Gloriose Mucyodusenge“My desire is to become a tailoring teacher one day. My name is Gloriose Mucyodusenge, and I come from Shyogwe Sector. I am grateful to the Padri Vjeko Center for admitting me. It means a lot to me. My live hasn’t been easy. In 2010 my father died. Now I live with Mom and my older sister who gave birth in our home. Such things are not well received in the culture of my people. Let me explain. A girl is first supposed to get married, and give birth in the home of her husband... So now there are four of us living in our house. The school is quite far from my home, and it takes a lot of time to travel, but I will give my best to be an excellent student so that one day I can be a teacher”.

Slyvain Nyandwi

“My name is Slyvain Nyandwi, and I come from Kamony District. I am enrolled in the building course. I am at the second year now. When I came to the Padri Vjeko Center I looked like a small boy. Nowadays I am tall and strong. We eat well here, we learn a lot, and spend a lot of time doing practice work. When I finish school, I dream about starting my own construction firm. I will help young people in need and they would be given priority for employment in my construction firm".

Pascal Gasigwa

Pascal Gasigwa“My name is Pascal Gasigwa. I was born in 1994 in a family of four children. My Dad had a traffic accident and spent a lot of time in the hospital before he passed away. During that period my mother also didn’t feel well, so I took care of my Dad in the hospital, went to see him every day, and brought him food… I had to take care of everything at home, which wasn’t so simple at all. When I saw that my peers who went to the Padri Vjeko Center were living great, because they found employment immediately after finishing their schooling, I too decided to enroll in that school. In addition to an excellent education, I don’t have to worry about education costs in this school. Fortunately, my uncle now takes care of me, so it is now a bit easier, and not everything at home depends on me. I believe that in the end everything will be OK!”

Translated by: Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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