Rwanda: Gatsibo - Local Journalist Builds Rwf50 Million ECD Centre at Birthplace

Local radio presenter Jean Paul Bujyacyera has on African Child Day inaugurated an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) which he built for children in his birthplace of Ngarama Sector in Gatsibo District.

The journalist, locally known as Gutermann, works at Radio Isango Star, says he built the facility worth around Rwf50 million to help children from the area where he's born have a chance at a better life in the future.

The facility has a learning and entertainment areas and will provide various services such as nursery school, nutrition services for children, education through sports, music and cinema and hygiene and sanitation.

The project was funded through an organisation he started in 2014, called "Nufashwa Yafashwa", which can translate as "even a person who gets a support can provide support to others".

The centre will also offer community services such as reproductive health education, and parents will learn how to prepare a healthy diet and other services related to fighting malnutrition.

The nursery section hosts 60 children, and they are soon increasing the number to about 100 children.

"I grew up in poverty, we ate once a day, I could not get basic materials for school, I was expelled many times due to lack of school fees, I also suspended for one year because of failure to raise fees. I then had to start doing heavy work as a child to get the money," he said.

"I was supported throughout my studies, I cannot say that I did all things by myself. I was supported, and I can support others too," stated Bujyacyera.

It was in 2014 that he started the organisation in Gatsibo, but his first thing to do was to help handle school dropouts in the district, whose numbers he said were too high at the time.

"In line with the national policy, in 2018, we got an idea to start an ECD centre, because parents here get busy with agricultural activities and their children lack early childhood development and education services," he said.

Ana Mukabihoyiki, 26, whose four year old daughter is one of the centre's beneficiaries, said that they get the services free of charge, while other schools are expensive and do not provide as many services.

"To access nursery school, a child had to travel to Ngarama trading centre, the roads are not safe for young children, there is always risky especially for road accidents," she said.

Gerard Moerman, the coordinator of Centre for Agricultural Perfection and Promotion (CPPA) based in Rulindo District, is the one who linked Bujyacyera to partners from Western Frandre and Waregem in Belgium for the funding of his project.

He commended him for the hard work, saying that such initiatives have more impact than those started by foreigners.

Inaugurating the infrastructure on the African Child Day, also coincided with the campaign to screen children and give them medication to fight against worm infections amongst children.

The screening activities will be done at the ECD, she declared.

"An ECD centre is a safe environment for children, where they get education, nutrition, among other services, but it also allows a parent to do their work without worries," said Mary Kantengwa, the vice mayor for social affairs in Gatsibo District.

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