Tuesday, 7 October 2008

E P Muhazi

Sixty children crammed into a room not much bigger than your lounge. No desks - they're trying to write on their knees. And to day there's no teacher either. The woman in the white blouse is Emmanuelie, the headteacher, who is trying to set them some work so that she can talk to me.
Is this a cowshed? No, it's two classrooms, housing a total of well over 200 children. Welcome to classes 1 and 2 at Muhazi. On the left is class 2, with 40 children in the morning and another 40 in the afternoons. On the right is class 1 with 60 children in each session. No desks, no furniture, no glass in the windows; you can see daylight through holes in both walls and roof. Precious few books. Welcome to rural Rwanda!

Two classrooms have been partially refurbished. The roof is new and leak-proof. The walls are better but desperately need replastering before the autumn rains dissolve the mid bricks. Alkso, these rooms have proper desks for the children and a modicum of storage.

These are the two best rooms at Muhazi. They're new, built of brick, and light years away from the primitive conditions of years 1 and 2. If you look at these four pictures, all from the same school, it summarises perfectly the range of conditions of school classrooms here in Rwanda.

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