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Cultivating the seed of quality education

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Rutana, 02 February 2012 - Quality education for children in primary school in Rutana is now a reality, according to a Jesuit Refugee Service Burundi statement marking the end of a two-year primary education project.

This JRS project in eastern Burundi was established in 2010 to provide educational services to communities of former refugees returning from Tanzania after years living into forced exile, as well as to local people.

"The 1993-2005 war devastated the country, denying thousands of children, now adults, without an opportunity to go to school. This will not happen for their children, to whom we guaranteed the right to receive quality education, a right that should be granted for every child around the world", said JRS Great Lakes Advocacy Officer, Danilo Giannese.

Enduring achievements

In Rutana JRS left a well-equipped and functioning primary school building which includes 18 classrooms and an IT laboratory, as well as building a nursery school. Over the last two years, nearly 900 children attended the school, and hundreds of desks and educational materials were also provided to four other local primary schools.

"It's not just a question of building classrooms or distributing books. The most important thing we are leaving in Rutana is enthusiast and committed headmasters, teachers and parents who clearly understood the importance of providing education to children", said JRS Great Lakes Programme Officer, Ernesto Lorda.

In addition to the construction of the schools, whose management has been handed over to Rutana diocese, JRS provided training in school management to 18 primary school headmasters, from which 300 teachers and 15,000 children benefited indirectly. Teams also organised classes in English and Kiswahili, and conducted workshops on pedagogic and psychosocial techniques to more than 600 teachers and on the value of education for young people to 228 members of parents' associations.

"We have planted the seeds of quality education in Rutana, which I'm sure will produce fruit in the future", continued Mr Lorda.

JRS began working in Burundi in 1995, offering services to Congolese refugees and internally displaced Burundians. Since the end of the war, JRS switched its focus to eastern Burundi, providing food security and educational services to refugees returning from Tanzania.

JRS is currently managing two food security projects in Giteranyi and Giharo, which will close down at the end of 2012. However, in the next few months JRS will open an agricultural school in Kibimba, a concrete sign of is commitment to durable repatriation in Burundi.