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  • Volunteer Stories

My Story: Back to School, Back to Life

My name is Benia Uwineza, I am 19. If you go down to find my village, don’t be surprised to see yourself hiking 15 km away from Nyamagabe City. Welcome to the country of Thousand Hills. Growing up here in NYAMAGABE DISTRICT has been memorable. Here, the sun still rises on time. Unlike in urban areas with a large number of On and Off grid beneficiaries, our evenings are still moonlight mats, where the tales and traditional stories flow from the elders.

We are four children, but my brother, the firstborn, no longer lives with us, and the lastborn still cries for breastmilk. I and my little sister Benitha Irasubiza who is 14, is the only grown-up girl which made it so hard for our parents to understand that we have the right to go to school. Additionally, my parents are traditional farmers not for living, but for survival. It got worse when I was in Senior Two and Benia in Primary Three. It was difficult to find needed materials for school such as uniforms, books, pens, school fees, and feeding fees. Plus, we’d come back from school only finding nothing to eat. Benitha and I sat down, talked, cried, and quit even though we were such best performers.

From being household workers to village Travelers, we’d make sure to spare time to read and do some exercises as we used to when in class because we believed that maybe one day God would do us a miracle and take us back to school.

After a few months, I met with a CorpsAfrica volunteer, and we became friends. She came to visit us at home and asked my mom why we weren’t where we had to be. She was like ‘We need to find a solution’. She went to talk to our local leaders and the school management, and they agreed to let us in with no charges. We couldn’t believe it until we found ourselves in class again. Additionally, one of the teachers asked my parents if she could take me to live with her family, making it easier for them to take care of other children. My parents and school staff members agreed, and I got transferred. Now, they help me with my personal and academic life. On the other hand, Benitha can concentrate on her studies. Both of us are happy to be back in school where we are now molding our future as we ever wanted it to look like.

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