The Rulindo Project
Cross-cultural Exchange. Mutual Education. Material Support.
In June 2007, a Country Day parent and two sophomores first visited Rulindo, and the next May Fr. Bernardin visited Country Day for several weeks. In 2009, over 300 student musicians played in the first annual Play-a-thon for Rulindo. In 2012, a high school team helped install windows and concrete floors at Gasiza Secondary. Every summer, music teacher Elena Bennett delivers ukuleles and teaches workshops. In May 2016, district head Fr. Onesphore visited Country Day, and an alumnus, ‘09, raised funds to build Rulindo’s first basketball court. A second court will be built at a remote school in 2018. A second court is now under construction.
It has been more than 25 years since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Though Rwanda is now peaceful and safe, the social and emotional scars run deep. Most Rulindo familes lost members during the genocide, many children were orphaned, and the nation lost a staggering percentage of its middle-aged population. Most rural citizens are still subsistence farmers and few are employed outside their homes. Formal education to 9th grade is now mandatory, but staying in school is a struggle for many students. Many drop out to work at home and care for siblings or can’t afford uniforms and basic food supplies.
The Rwandan government and the Catholic church partner to administer eight schools in the Rulindo district, serving more than 5,000 students. The schools are Ecole Scolaire Gasiza (7th-12th grade), Tare Primary (preschool-6th), Rulindo Primary (1st-6th), Rulindo Girls’ Boarding School (9th-12th), Groupe Scolaire Gitabage (1st-9th), Groupe Scolaire Gasaka (kindergarten-9th), Groupe Scolaire Rukingu (boarding school for handicapped students of all ages), and Inyange Girls Boarding School (9-12).
Some of Country Day’s Contributions
- Hundreds of hogs, rabbits, chickens, goats, distributed across the district
- Water tanks and outdoor taps for washing
- Concrete flooring, window glass for 8 classrooms
- Roof and other structural repairs
- School and lunch fees for many hundreds of students
- New latrines
- SCDS student team worked at Gasiza Secondary in 2012, future trips are possible, and Mrs. Bennett visits every June
- School office built at Gasiza Secondary
- Basketball uniforms, shoes and supplies
- “Ukulele Clubs” begun in three schools
- Document camera and projectors
- New school kitchen for the Ecole Scolaire Gasiza School
- Professional Development Fund started for teachers in 2018
- Two new preschool classrooms being built in 2018-19
Some of the Ways Country Day Raises Money
- Since 2007, Country Day has donated more than $131,785 to Rulindo, raising the money in many different ways
- Annual Gerlinde Klauser Play-a-thon for Rulindo, a day of nonstop musical performance and fundraising
- High School Passport Lunch
- Middle and High School student council fundraising
- Christy Vail handmade knitting and jewelry sales
- Singing Valentines, lemonade stands, piggy bank savings, bake sales, and rummage sales
- Lower School Book Bonanza and library fines
- Solar panels for electricity
- Clean drinking water for day students
- Livestock for family microbusinesses and teachers
- School fees for hundreds of students most in need
- Computers and internet connections
- Concrete for classroom floors
- Textbooks and trade books, all levels
- Funds for providing student lunches
- Musical instruments
- Outdoor kitchens and cooking pots
- Many more latrines
- Play and sports equipment and sports uniforms
- Basketball courts, soccer fields
- Classroom materials: games, science equipment, etc.
- Teacher education funds
Donations to the Rulindo project are gratefully accepted at Sacramento Country Day School, 2636 Latham Drive, Sacramento, CA 95864.
Checks should be payable to SCDS, memo line: “Rulindo Fund.” 100% of your donation goes directly to the Rulindo schools (Fr. Damien Kimenyi, current head administrator).
For more information, please contact Elena Bennett at (916) 481-8811.