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The Kinamba Project

During January we have two preoccupations – admission of new children into the Nursery section and placing secondary students in a boarding school.

Our sewing room has been very busy making new uniforms. We have a change this year, we have chosen a yellow check which we hope will distinguish us from other places.

Epiphanie has been busy calling people on our waiting list to offer a place. We have strict admission criteria as we are always oversubscribed. We list the children in order of their date of birth. We also take care to identify, through the local leaders and the teachers’ knowledge of the families, the most poor and vulnerable and least likely to be able to pay the fees in another nursery. We do not know of any other place which offers free places. We do ask families to make a token contribution if they can afford it but it is not compulsory nor is payment for the uniform. Any contributions are used in the food programme.

All else is completely free of charge.

Parents come in with their children for a uniform a week or so before school starts. Some of the children already have siblings at the project and are confident, others less so, especially sometimes when they see me!

We owe grateful thanks to the Greens Lane Methodist Knit and Natter group for the jumpers. We love them and they keep the children warm on chilly mornings, especially during the rainy season.

The cut of the shirts and shorts or skirts are pretty generous – made to last a long time!

This year we admitted 45 children into the Nursery 1 section and there are 43 in Nursery 2.

Here they are with Teacher Sandra and Assistant Epiphanie – off to a happy start.

Here is the second nursery class with teacher Felicie and assistant Feza.

These children are old hands now but no less happy to be back in school!

One of our newer students wanted to say hello! They often chatter away to me in Kinyarwanda and I do my best to understand. Most teachers in the world could have a good guess especially when someone wants to complain about the behaviour of another child but this conversation was a bit more tricky…

And then there are other essentials like taking those first photographs!

And so we start another new year, another chapter in our history. Staff are well rehearsed in welcoming everyone and we normally settle in really quickly and get to work. Parents are reluctant to leave at first but they are confident that their children will be well cared for and they know they are getting a chance that that they never had. Epiphanie sets the standard.

We say goodbye to the parents and set off to the classrooms to start work for the first day.

Photographs for our records are essential and the children soon get used to the attention. They wait patiently for their turn and are keen to see their image in the camera. Some are confident, some less so.

So now to meet new friends, learn to play with each other, explore ideas. And for us?

Well we already had a long waiting list but word gets round when the new term starts and we are receiving many enquiries about registration for next year and some years to come. One parent came with her 3 month old child to register for 2021 or 2022!

More about the secondary students in our next news.

Thank you for your continued support and interest, wishing you peace and happiness in 2018. Meg