Registered Charity Number: 1134890

Your donations are transforming the lives of young people in Rwanda

We keep our administrative costs to a minimum by giving our time voluntarily. We also carry out routine monitoring visits at our own expense.

We have been working in Rwanda for over ten years and our vocational school project has trained many students. We also have a growing team of supporters who turn dreams into reality.

Keeping our supporters in touch with our progress is a high priority and you can find important information on this website and on our Facebook page, ‘equipuk’. However, to become part of the team – please sign up to our mailing list. You would be most welcome.

Paul and Ruth Johnson working in Rwanda – follow their blog on the Equip Facebook page.

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Facebook Posts

Update

It is with regret that Equip has learned that Eddie Mwunvaneza is no longer able to take up the position of Principal at Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School as announced earlier this month. He has made the courageous decision to step back from the post recognising that the time commitment required may conflict with his current pastoral responsibilities. Eddie remains committed to the vision of the school and we are grateful for his willingness to consider the position.

Paul and Ruth are heading straight back to Rwanda and will put appropriate leadership into place as quickly as possible to ensure that the education of the current students is not impacted in any way. This is our highest priority. Please hold them in your prayers that they might make wise decisions.
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We are continuing with our programme of building improvements. This is our new strong store which will allow us to keep resources secure and therefore available to students. If you can help fund this project please contact us at office@equipuk.org. Making our resources go further means we can help more students gain the education they need. ... See MoreSee Less

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Graduation Video
Graduation Day - just in case you were not sure how they felt!
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Equip added 5 new photos.

Meeting Sarah

Many of you will remember 'Sarah's Story' that I posted last year. Sarah was one of our students who as a small child had lost her family in the genocide and now, at the age of 26, was completing her education. In that post I described her as I saw her then, "slightly more distant and reserved than the others". She spoke barely any English and we communicated through a translator.

This week we met Sarah again. Now a confident and poised young woman with a much stronger command of English, she and her husband still live close to Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School. At Saturday's graduation ceremony, we were proud to be invited to stand with her as she had her official photographs taken and while we were working at the school this week, she came over to see us and invited us to visit her home.

What a privilege! It was a real joy to meet Joseph, Sarah's husband, an earnest and Godly young man, and to see them both so settled. Their house is small and sparsely furnished. The main room is dominated by a large fridge, besides which sit plastic buckets of samosas and snacks. Joseph makes these to help feed some of the local people: while we were there two young school boys came in and tucked into snacks which were washed down by huge mugs of milk. We were offered some of the samosas, they were absolutely delicious!

Sarah's time at KSV was spent studying hairdressing, and although she is currently needed to support her husband's work, she is keen to find employment in this area now she has graduated. Sarah's increased self esteem after just a year is highly evident. No longer distant or reserved, she hugs us warmly, giggles happily and chats away to us in English. She and Joseph are also members of the church that meets in the school and their Christian faith is clearly a strong foundation of their marriage. We were blessed to spend time with them.

Our heart at Equip is to see young people like Sarah find fulfilment through quality education, good jobs and ultimately, faith in Christ. Please visit our website www.equipuk.org to join in our vision and help young men and women like Sarah have a positive future.

Thank you
Ruth
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Bonaface's story

Bonaface takes his job very seriously. As you greet him he stands sharply to attention and then shakes your hand warmly in the usual Rwandan way of touching his own right arm with his left hand as he shakes yours.

Bonaface is our caretaker at the Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School. He is responsible for security and also manages the land that surrounds the school, enabling local people to supplement their own crops and cultivating cash crops to increase the income of the school. He is highly protective of us as visitors. Always watching, always vigilant, he notices what we need and when. If we walk the perimeter of the land to check progress on its development he walks with us to beat away the snakes. If the new flag needs hoisting up the flagpole, compulsory in Rwanda, Bonaface is your man. He rarely speaks, even in his native tongue, but somehow his character shines through; loyal, dependable, strong.

He has seen much in his lifetime including the horror of the genocide. He now lives with his family at the school. His daughter Gloria is the cleaner - a tough job with no running water. They are both an integral and much loved part of the school community. They also both earn very little - resources are rightly directed into the education of the students but without Bonaface and his daughter, Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School would be a poorer place.

Can you help support Bonaface and his colleagues give students the chance to learn skills that will enable them to move to a level above subsistence farming. Please visit our website to donate or click the donate button on our Facebook page. Just £15 a month will support a young person to study.

Thank you for helping us change lives.

Ruth
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Mama Eric
If you have a few moments, come with us and visit this amazing lady, Mama Eric, in her beautiful home.
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Monkeys
On our way to the school we saw some monkeys.
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Equip added 2 new photos.

New Principal

Today we headed off to Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School to meet with the staff. It was a special day as we were there to introduce their new Principal. We have spent the past week interviewing and checking credentials and were now ready to announce who had secured the post.

Our journey up to the school was interrupted by a sighting of a troop of monkeys amidst the trees who convenient posed for photographs for us! We also saw several wild turkeys but sadly, we were not so quick with the camera.

The news of the new Principal was very well received by the staff who gave a round of applause when we announced that Eddie Mwunvaneza, a lovely, strong Christian man, has accepted the post. A Rwandan who has lived in Canada for many years, he has a PhD in Intercultural Studies and has lectured extensively in theology and Bible Studies in both Ethiopia and Canada. We have been particularly impressed with his leadership and management skills and feel confident that when we leave Rwanda the school will be in safe hands. Please pray for him in his new role as he takes on the challenge of moving the school into its next phase.

It was then off to the Bank of Kigali to spend hours changing signatories on the bank account - oh the joy of African bureaucracy!

Ruth
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Equip added 23 new photos — with Rv Joseph Karasanyi Nyarwaya and Paul Johnson.

Graduation Day

Today, ten years on from his first visit to Rwanda, Paul Johnson stood at the Umabano Hotel in Kigali, waiting for the Kingdom and Secondary Vocational School's first ever graduation ceremony to begin. One man's vision translated from a row of graves, to rows of chairs ready to celebrate the achievements of young people who are launching into life now equipped with skills to gain productive employment.

Preparation for this momentous event for the school was a typically African affair. Even yesterday, catering was still being arranged, gowns were not ordered until late last night, (apparently usual here!) and because the teacher who was in charge of the production of the final certificates had fallen off his motorbike and ended up in the hospital with an injured wrist, we spent much of Friday rushing round the city to ensure every student would have the appropriate accreditation. (A minor injury - he is now fine.) Even this morning, having been assured students would arrive by 9am to robe up and that all the teachers would be there to supervise, nothing really happened until gone 10am as they arrived, to quote the Rwandan phrase, "slowly by slowly"!

Frustrations on our part ran high. Used to rigorous time keeping and forward planning, we began to doubt that the event would ever happen. But this is Africa and things are done differently here. And we had to learn to wait!

And as the students and their parents began to arrive, so the excitement mounted. Many of them come from the poorest districts, so for them, being in the smarter part of town was an adventure. Some had travelled a fair distance to attend, walking since early this morning to be there. With the students now fully robed, great amusement set in as we discovered that they had all put their gowns on back to front! A quick rearrange sorted the problem and we were ready to celebrate.

The ceremony itself was simple affair; prayers, speeches, a brief video showcasing their work and of course, the presentation of certificates. We were honoured that not only parents and family members had joined us but also pastors from the churches that these young people represented. Each had dressed in their very best clothes for such a special occasion. They listened and applauded, laughed and took photographs on their mobile phones. In their eyes one could see their pride and thankfulness, knowing that each young person now has a better future. The teachers were equally proud and it was lovely to have Augustine with us, looking so smart in his jacket and tie despite still being so poorly with the after effects of Malaria.

As the formal part of the day ended we moved to take the official group, individual and family photographs. It was touching that many wanted their 'English Mum and Dad' to join them in the pictures but also a poignant reminder that for many their parents or family had simply not been able to afford to attend. With the event captured for posterity we enjoyed refreshments together, sodas, samosas and banana cake. To us simple fare, but for many it was a feast of rich food they would not usually have and it soon disappeared!

And then it was time for home? Not at all. We were invited to return to our seats and the students took the microphone. Rarely have we heard such eloquence as they shared how Kingdom Secondary and Vocational School has transformed their lives. They spoke of their thanks to not only their teachers but also to those in the UK who had supported their education financially and they gave glory to God for His provision. They recognised their responsibility to now go out and not only put their newly acquired skills to good use but to pass them on to others whenever possible. To show their thanks to us and to God they broke into a spontaneous time of dancing and worship. The function room at the Umabano Hotel came alive with Rwandan song and dance giving praise to God. The staff came in to see what was happening and stayed to listen and enjoy - it's obviously been a while since this predominantly middle class and tourist hotel has seen such a celebration!

After a tough few days, sorting out a number of issues that have needed addressing before we return home and also battling the heavy rain which has constantly altered our schedule, our spirits were lifted as we were reminded so vividly today of why we are involved here Rwanda. This generation have missed out on so much. There are those who are without parents and grandparents to raise and guide them. There are many who have experienced financial hardship and insecurity in a nation struggling to rebuild itself. They are some who have been failed by a secondary school system which is in its infancy in providing for all young people. Yet today we celebrated the achievements and success of an amazing group of young people. Your support in giving to this project has given each one the opportunity to study a vocational course at KSV and has, quite simply, changed their lives. Thank you!

Ruth

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SO much going on at the moment here in Kigali. Almost too much. A fuller update to follow. However, in the meantime, enjoy the outdoor classroom picture. They are doing a really good job. Graduation tomorrow for 60 students and this year's intake have just arrived. So much to do - please pray. ... See MoreSee Less

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This school was wiped out in the unthinkable tragedy of 1994
… which caused these fantastic supporters to respond generously
… so we could buy this beautiful new land and build a new school
… for this amazing new generation of Rwandan young people
This school was wiped out in the unthinkable tragedy of 1994
… which caused these fantastic supporters to respond generously
… so we could buy this beautiful new land and build a new school
… for this amazing new generation of Rwandan young people

How we allocate funding


I pray that God will bless all the children in these schools and prosper all those who give to us by His mercy

Mama Eric


I am grateful for my place in the primary school and I am hoping, one day, to be president.

Rebecca


I am grateful for the land that has been provided. It provides food for our families and a school for our children. There is hope for our future.

Mussa


Thank you Equip. We have the chance to go to school and develop our education. We want to speak English and use the computer.

Daniel


I am an English teacher and I am grateful to be able to teach at the secondary school. Please ask if there is anyone else who can help us with this vision. They would be most welcome in Rwanda.

Augustine