During our journey cycling through Rwanda we usually visit the wonderful Kinamba Project. Meg Fletcher founded the project after volunteering with VSO in the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, when support for orphans and widows was sorely needed.
The Kinamba Project’s core focus is educating some of the poorest children of the Kamutwa communities in Kinamba, a district on the north western edge of the capital, Kigali. Meg, her team of Rwandan teachers and international volunteers, run a nursery for 80 children and provide support for a further 135 going through to primary and 53 children in secondary education. Ora, one of Meg’s first pupils has not only attained a scholarship to the city’s prestigious Green Hills Academy but has just been appointed Head Boy.
The Kinamba Food Programme works to ensure that the children are fed and healthy ensuring that they’re able to attend school. The kitchen is run by the formidable and unflappable Francoise, who cooked an astonishing 66,229 meals in 2017! In nursery, the children sit down to a cup of sorghum and maize porridge and a bread roll each morning while Francoise rustles up rice, vegetables and fish for lunch for the primary and secondary pupils and their teachers.
Encouraging other talents
Alongside academic work, the school has cricket, rugby and football teams, art and music classes, and participates in national dance displays. When we visit the project on our cycling adventure, it’s joyous to see the children dancing with happiness and supreme concentration to the accompaniment of drums and singing.
The Kinamba Project also offers opportunities for adults in the local community to receive an education and learn the skills needed to earn an income to support their families. Basic numeracy and literacy classes are offered to adults in tandem with the Ministry for Education, and support and advice on subjects such as HIV/Aids, nutrition and health.
Under the shade of the trees in the school’s courtyard, you’ll frequently see the smiling faces of women as they work under the shade of the trees in the school’s courtyard. Seated on reed mats they weave sweet-grass baskets with traditional, geometric patterns. Beautiful examples demonstrating the technical artistry of Rwandan basket weavers are even on display at The Met in New York, showing patterns such as isimbi (cowrie shells) and itana (arrow heads). At the back of the school is the tailor’s workshop where women use mechanised treadle machines to create clothes and bags alongside their commissions in kitenge and batiq fabrics.
We’re proud to lend our support to the Kinamba Project and look forward to introducing you to the teachers and children. In the meantime, read more about their excellent work here, sponsor one of the children, make a donation through their Virgin Money page or even volunteer.
Join us on a scheduled cycling trip through the Land of a Thousand Hills or email contact us to discuss making the journey as a private group.