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This school was founded in 1959. Only one of the original buildings is still standing – it’s the only colonial building to be found at any of our five schools. Rwaza has nine teachers who are led by their director Gilbert Bavukirahe.

The Director

Gilbert was born in Gatovu in 1958. He is married to Valerie and they have eight children. One of those children is in primary school, four are in secondary school, two more are at university in Goma and one of his daughters is married. He was a classroom teacher for 22 years before becoming a director in 1998.

The School at a Glance

There are 489 kids at school – 291 boys and 198 girls.

School Day: At the moment school runs in two shifts 7.00 – 12.00 and 12.00 – 17.00. When they get their six new classrooms they will do just one shift from 7.00 – 12.00.

Age Range: 6 – 12.

Curriculum: The National Curriculum of Mathematics, French, History, Geography, Science, Art and Music. This school also teaches the pupils about the environment, the park and the forest.

Sport: The Director is very animated when he talks about how much these kids love football. They play neighboring schools – and often win!

Fees: $2.5 dollars per month per child for the teachers’ salaries and $1 per term for materials.

Teachers’ Pay: $25-30 per month.


Rwaza Primary School is marked by both poverty and war. There are far fewer girls than boys in attendance, and many of the children who are allowed to attend cannot afford the fees. Ten of Rwaza’s pupils have a ranger as a parent; all of the others are the children of subsistence farmers. War forced the school to close from 2007 until 2009. During that time soldiers ransacked the school buildings and violence orphaned many of the pupils. As the director points out grimly, ‘the wars always start here.’ Life at the school since then has improved enormously and, with the help of the park and its donors, that progress will continue.