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Monday, 18 May 2009 Written by Fortunate Kabarisa

Kabarisa FortunateI am called Kabarisa Fortunate. I studied at St Francis Tailoring School in Nyamitanga near Mbarara, Uganda. I am Ugandan. It is now three years since I came to Rwanda. I am working as a teacher in the Tailoring Section at CFJ Father Vjeko Centre. CFJ Father Vjeko Centre is a school in Kivumu, Rwanda and has three sections: Tailoring Carpentry and Building. Students study for two years (year 1 and 2) after which, they are given a certificate at the end of the second year. These certificates help students to find jobs. Most of the students who have studied at this centre (CFJ Father Vjeko Centre) are now employed in other schools and building sites, where they really earn a living. There is still room for new students who wish to study.

By the time I came in May 2006, the tailoring section had fifty-two students: Year I had thirty students and year II had twenty-two students.  In the 2007/2008 school year, the Tailoring section had fifty-six students but now in 2008/2009 we have sixty students – thirty-six in Year 1 and twenty-four in Year 2.

Year 1 students of the Tailoring Section use treadle machines and Year 2 students use both treadle and electric machines. The school doesn’t have electricity. Instead it is equipped with a special generator. It is the one the School uses to produce power to run those electric machines in the Tailoring Section as well as in Carpentry.

As a result of our tailoring program of study, our students are able to use any kind of machine - that is,. treadle machines or electric ones in any workshop outside the school. This has helped them a lot in getting jobs in different places.

Students in the tailoring section are able to study subjects like sewing methods, decorative work, patch work bedcovers, local tailoring, garment alterations, pattern cutting, home furnishings, fashion illustration and designing, mathematics and French.

They are also able to use commercial patterns to make garments. The students are able also to make uniforms for Primary Schools and different other things outside the school domain. Uniforms, curtains and other furnishings used by the schools are made by the tailoring students. This really increases the students’ experience.

The tailoring section has four teachers, two in each year. One of those teachers was trained outside Rwanda in Canada (at Olds college in Alberta) and two others were trained in Uganda, in a school called St Francis Tailoring School in Nyamitanga. Teachers change their syllabus and their way of teaching when necessary and this helps students to learn different things in different ways which goes towards helping them find jobs immediately after graduating. In this way they are able to help themselves and their families.

Teachers also get lectures from people outside Rwanda and this has really improved their quality of teaching. Among those people is Valerie Ken from Canada who sacrifices her private life to come to Rwanda and help teachers to build the school programme. The door is still wide open to those people and others who love CFJ Father Vjeko Centre. The gate is wide open to those who wish to visit us and make a tour of our school. CFJ Father Vjeko Centre has really helped the youth in Kivumu, Rwanda to make a living. “The wind of change is blowing over the CFJ Father Vjeko Centre”.

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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