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Thursday, 27 May 2010 Written by Theogene Kubwimana

Theogene Kubwimana

I am Kubwimana Theogene, from Kivumu Parish, Karama village.  I am seventeen years old. When I grew up, I found myself at my grandfather’s place. Every night I used to sit near my grandmother and help her to prepare supper.  Once she told me the story about my life since I was born.

My father had gone to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, when he was young, looking for a job. There he met a girl who had also gone to Kigali looking for a job.  She became pregnant by him, and that is how I came to be born. Then my mother left Kigali to return to her village, while my father remained in town. After five years my mother took me to my grandfather’s place. One month after that, my father came from Kigali to the village. He was very sick and he died.  So I remained there with my grandparents and my uncle.

When I was six years old, they sent me to primary school, and they gave me what I needed to study.. But, upon reaching Primary three, they refused to give me anything more, saying that I was not among their children.  My uncle, who had gotten married, gave me a job of fetching water, for which I was paid 10 Rwandan francs per jerrrycan. That money was very little (one dollar is equal to 570 Rwf), and it wasn’t enough to pay for my primary education, so I dropped out from Primary three. I stayed home with my grandparents, helping them with the digging, fetching water, looking for the firewood, and cleaning the house. I had a chance, once a week to go to dig for someone nearby, so I managed to get enough money to allow me to buy clothes, soaps, and to pay medical insurance etc.

When I was fifteen years old, I started to analyze how I was living and to think about my future. I asked my grandparents to at least take me to the training center to learn some trade but they refused.  I then went to my uncle who said he would help me but I would have to wait.

Last year he offered to help me, and so I decided to register at Padri Vjeko Training Center without any hope that I would be accepted. By the goodness of God, I was on the list! On the eleventh of January, I had to be at the school, and when I went to talk with my uncle, he said that he would give me five thousand Rwandan fraancs.  I asked him to escort me to the school for the first day because they had told us that the ones who will be accepted are the ones who will come with their parents and with all necessities for the School.  But my uncle refused, saying that he could not come and he would not come to school with me; he said the school is my business. When I ask about money enough for school fees and uniform, he said he didn’t have any more money for me.

So, on 11th of January, 2010, I went to school with my 5000 rwf.  When it was my time for registration, they asked me for my parents. I said “I don’t have any parents or even a guardian”. “And do you have school fees?” they asked.  I didn’t have even half of it, so they said that they “could not believe” what I was saying.  “You have to go home and bring your parents, plus school fees – 7,000 rwf. for school fees, 3,500 rwf. for uniform, 300 rwf. for photos and 1,000 rwf. for medical insurance”, they told me. 

Next day, I failed to get anyone to come with me - my grandmother, my grandfather and my uncle all refused.  So I decided to go back to the school and explain what was going on. But even so, they explained to me that they “cannot take a student without someone who can look after him and collaborate with the school”.  They advised me to bring one of the neighbours - someone who knew my situation at home - so that he/she could follow me at school as well as at home in the village, to see how I am behaving. The next week, when I asked one of our neighbors, she accepted to be my guardian. She is a mother of one child and has a husband. That family has accepted to work with the school for as long I will be studying and even in the village they will try to follow me.
I still have the problem how to get school fees and other necessities for the school. The headmaster has told me to go to class and they will see what they can do. I hope there is some possibility of helping me because I would really like to study, but I don’t have money. My family doesn’t want to recognize me as one of them.  I know that I have to work for my own future. Let me pray to God that I can get assistance from the school and finish my building course that I began on 11th January, 2010 at Padri Vjeko Training Center.


Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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