News from Rwanda

The New School Year at Father Vjeko Center

The New School Year 2011The first day was more than lively. Students who, during the last school year, completed the first year of learning one of the trades, enrolled in the second year. But the ones that demanded the most attention were the new students who were just starting first year. So, the first day of school was spent counting, enrolling, dividing into classes, but...

The New School Year 2011It has started! It really has!

On Monday, after a month and a half break, students once again assembled in the school yard of CFJ Padri Vjeko Vocational School. A new school year has started! In Rwanda, the school year always starts in January and lasts three semesters... The first day was more than lively.  Students who, during the last school year, completed the first year of learning one of the trades, enrolled in the second year. But the ones that demanded the most attention were the new students who were just starting first year. So, the first day of school was spent counting, enrolling, dividing into classes, but also distributing the new school uniforms which were a source of special joy for the new students.

Thanks to Fr. Ivica and his direction, starting with last year , CFJ Padri Vjeko School also has a new teaching plan, so the students are now offered a choice between two options – a two-year course, during which they learn the skills necessary to become tailors, carpenters and masons; or a one-year course, after which they become learned welders, plumbers or electricians.

This school year the second-year classrooms will be filled with one hundred and five students – thirty-five future tailors (five boys and thirty girls), twenty-four future carpenters (all boys), and forty-six future masons (including one girl).

Two hundred and eleven new students enrolled in the school, starting their first year. The majority showed interest in the Masonry course: eighty-five of them, including one girl, are going to start to learn the brick-laying trade this year. The majority of the girls, forty-five of them, enrolled in the Tailoring course without a single boy to join them in the classroom, although there were some young men in previous years who became tailors. And then again, in the Carpenters’ class, composed of twenty-six students, there will be only boys, no girls.

Twenty-four boys and five girls enrolled in the Electricians’ course. The Welding course was composed out of eighteen boys and two girls, while the Plumbing course caught the interest of five boys and a girl.

The New School Year 2011The New School Year 2011

Fr. Ivica didn’t hide his satisfaction. The ends of his moustache were upturned in a grin, because this enrollment is proof that the awareness of his parishioners has substantially changed. A few years ago, the parents didn’t want to educate their children because they thought it was better for them to work for a dollar a day than to ‘waste’ their time in school. Today the picture is completely changed. People have realized that education is the most important thing for the future of their kids. And in school they are given a lunch, which they are unable to afford in their own homes every day.

Photos by: Željko Garmaz