The New Times (Kigali)

28 November 2010

Rwanda: PIH Pays Rwf 105 Million for Needy Students

Kayonza — Partners In Health (PIH) Rwanda, paid over Rwf 105 million in tuition fees and other school dues for vulnerable children in three districts of Rwanda this year.

The beneficiaries were from Kayonza, Ngoma, Kirehe and Burera districts.

PIH provides entire primary and secondary school fees for HIV affected and vulnerable students, provided they meet the required standards.

This was revealed Friday, by Dr. Peter Drobac, PIH Country Director, at a function to bid farewell to students sponsored by PIH.

Dr, Drobac said that PIH regards medical care as a human right for everybody. He however, noted that healthcare cannot be addressed in isolation, but with other correlated issues like poverty, housing and food insecurity.

"We are supporting health and development activities in three districts. It's our duty that the most vulnerable get preferential access to healthcare".

"Healthcare alone is not enough; lack of food or education can affect someone's health. That is why we are sponsoring educational opportunities for promising students," he said.

Dr. Drobac added that they would like to cover more than they are doing, but are limited by resources.

"Ours is a long term commitment, PIH will remain in Rwanda as long as it can, and as long as the Rwandan government welcomes it".

Emmanuel Kamanzi, Kayonza District Project Manager, said the districts in which PIH operates, have benefited greatly from the services it offers.

He said that PIH efforts will achieve its apex in early December when a five-star rural hospital will be launched in Burera district.

Jean Bosco Bamuririmbe, one of the vulnerable students who benefitted from PIH education sponsorship, said that he has moved from rags to riches.

He said that his life came to a standstill, when all his parents succumbed to HIV/AIDS.

"PIH sponsored my high school education, and has now employed me as a program assistant 'Face AIDS Rwanda' program. I earn enough to make ends meet, yet I was a financial destitute," he said.

PIH is an international US NGO that started operating in Rwanda in 2005. It works with three district hospitals and 30 health centres.

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