Rwanda and Redeemer

Rwanda and Redeemer December 12, 2014

Victoria Albanese, from Church of the Redeemer:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 10.47.51 AMMost of the students at Sonrise School who lost one or both parents during the horrific Rwandan genocide claiming over one million lives 20 years ago are now enrolled in upper grades or have graduated. Nearly 100 are earning college degrees, including 40 in the United States and two locally.

But Sonrise, founded 2001 as a boarding school in the mountainous district of Musanze to care for orphans of the genocide, is still asked to admit needy children of a different kind into its lower grades. Parents of the students have passed away, abandoned them, or can no longer care for them because of HIV/AIDS or other diseases. And students are admitted without payment or sponsors.

“They give them to us, not in great numbers as in 2001 or 2003, but they do come because they know that the school cares and provides,” said the Rt. Rev. Dr. Laurent Mbanda, Bishop of the Shyira Diocese in the Anglican Church of Rwanda, speaking Nov. 9 at a benefit sponsored by Church of the Redeemer, 1731 Deerfield Road, Highland Park. Held by one of the Sonrise founders at Highwood Bocce Club, almost $26,000 was raised at the fundraiser.

“It is good to be known for that-that we take care of kids spiritually and socially-plus we perform very well in the country,” he said.

Difficulty in finding sponsors, coupled with a new government regulation limiting boarding school enrollment, one of Rwanda’s top-ranked schools has been challenged financially, according to Mbanda.

Mbanda told over 100 in attendance that the government restricted boarding school enrollment to children aged 10 years and older-contributing to a reduction in admissions even though employment of the teaching staff remained the same.

“We could not let the teachers go away in the middle of the academic year,” he explained.

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