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The New School Year has Begun
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 Written by fra Ivica Perić

The New School Year has BegunThe New School Year has Begun

Somehow I find that lately I am more and more often reporting on our school’s successful activities and I am proud to say that our enrolment numbers are increasing. From this I can only conclude that CFJ Padri Vjeko Trade School has come to life fully. What’s more, news about the exceptional training which our young students receive during their education has spread throughout the entire country, and it is no surprise that we are even enrolling new students from outside the borders of Kivum parish - from the furthest parts of Rwanda!

The 2010 school year began on the 11 January and a total of two hundred and twenty-seven students rushed to their places in our school – One hundred fifty-eight boys and seventy girls. Fifty-three boys are being trained as carpenters – twenty-eight in first year, and twenty-five in second year. Among the one hundred and two students of the bricklaying course - fifty-three in first year and forty-nine in second - there are even three girls! In the tailoring course, the majority of the students are female but even so, as well as the sixty-seven girls, six boys managed to successfully “push” their way in.

Overall, one hundred and eight students successfully completed first year and are now enrolled in the second school year, while one hundred and nineteen students are attending our school for the first time.

One could easily call the first day of school “Open House”! Of course, there are a number of technical formalities which must be conducted, but because education has been only a dream for most children, it is precisely through informal socialising throughout the day - between the children, teachers and parent - that we try to bring everyone closer together and at the beginning establish it like one big family. The children are enrolled in the school registry, they are given text books and notebooks, and they must also be entrusted with the tools with which they will, in a year or two, become superior crafts people.

I have an idea that many parents, after seeing what is ahead for their children, would love to be sitting at the school desks instead of them! Even more so when they saw the kitchen in which we daily prepare cooked meals for the children!!! It is no surprise that this is another reason why the children happily come to the school - for many of them, the school lunch is their only meal of the day.

The New School Year has BegunThe New School Year has Begun

Then, seven days later, on the 18 January, thirty-six more students - two girls and thirty-four boys - rushed into the school desks of three completely new departments. Recently, we had completed a survey and learned that there is a real need in Rwanda for qualified electricians, plumbers and welders and we are now offering these courses of education and training at CFJ Padri Vjeko School.

In summary, I am happy to report that our professional trade school CFJ Padri Vjeko has a total of two hundred and sixty-three students who are attending this school year. Twenty-seven percent are girls and seventy-three percent are boys. In a very traditional, conservative community like rural Rwanda, this is enormous progress. Until a few years ago it was impossible to even imagine that a boy would attend a tailoring course or a girl could train as a bricklayer! We have broken through centuries of old barriers and we have done this together – we, the personnel of the school and all of you who believe in us and who support us so unselfishly.

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie k. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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