Wouldn´t it be wonderful? Or not?

if you could send your children to school for free?
I mean, really for free...
I visited Rubirizi yesterday, and every time I go there I feel with these parents. They are struggling, no water supply, no electricity, way out in nowhere and the children are very many in every family here.
 We celebrated the very first end of the very first preschool year in Rubirizi village history. This has never happened before! These beautiful children are the first in their village to finish one year of preschool. How amazing isn´t that! All six year olds got a diploma and the younger ones received a transcript,
and because of the occasion, I had brought lollipops for them all. If there was water in the village we could have had lemonade and bread, but it is a bit complicated to get it here, so a lollipop is a good alternative. 
Also I had the great privilage
to hand over the two drawings that have made it to the final in the Drawing Competition "I love preschool because..." One child in the age 3-4 and one child in the age 5-6 were given their drawing in a beautiful frame.
In Janyary the jury,
led by CPWM Colonel Jamiya,  will announce the winner of the whole competition, 14 children out of 530 have been chosen so it will be exciting to see who will win the toys and Teaching Aid for their preschool in the end. 
After the end of term celebration
the parents gathered so that we could follow up on the commitment they made in September; that they would send their children to preschool ( "not keep them in the fields or watching the cows" as the local government Social Board Officer said) and that they would pay the school fees 250 Rwf* per month (Sep, Oct, Nov) to show that they are really committed to giving the children preschool education which they started in January 2012 with the assistance of local salvationists.
If so The Salvation Army would help them administrate and supply with school uniforms thanks to a donation. The school uniforms are finished, well almost, we still need forty more, but the Home League in Muhanga has agreed to make them for a small cost.
So we sang and prayed and then the Parents Committee gave their report. It was going okey, some families are very good at paying, but some do not pay reguarly and so it is difficult to pay the teachers.
Thanks to a donation The Salvation Army is contributing some money to the two teachers allowance every month, so the parents will have to do their part also.
I believe it is the same questions all over the world, in every congregation or club, this issue is a common problem.
How to solve it? Shame them!
in calling out their name in the meeting, one parent suggested.
No, I said, we do not want to do that. The parent that is not paying knows it, the Committe knows it, that is enough. To shame and disgrace has never been a good solution. We need to help each other to push and encourage- this is for your and our children, if you give them acess to preschooling, they will develop much better, intellectual, emotional, social and mental.
Parents; you need to remind yourselves and your neighburs that this is a way out of poverty, freedom and a good life. But of course if you as a village do not commit, how can we then help you? We are committed to help your village if you are...

Sometimes I think to myselves,
what if I could just say: Send your children to school- no charge, what so ever! (That´s how it is in my home country, all children are obligated to go, free of charge for ten years)
And then I realise it is not the question nor the answer. A parent need to see and understand the benefit of school... so if neighburs encourages each other, discover the knowledge the children is learning from being in school, all these families will be strenghtened in the future, and motivated to get their children in to school.
*RwF/610= $US 1
250Rwf/610= $US 0,41
Photos and Copyright: Anna-Maria Tuftstrom
Free to use in The Salvation Army
Others; send an e-mail and we´ll work something out :)


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