[The SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali successfully re-opened after a seven-month COVID-19 school closure]

The SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali successfully re-opened after a seven-month COVID-19 school closure

Following a request from the City of Kigali, SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School facility located on a four-hectare land in Kacyiru sector has been expropriated in October 2020 to expand Rwanda’s state of the art Kigali Golf course Club on an expansive stretch of greenery in the city.

The SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali was built back in 1997 to address the educational gap observed nearby the SOS Children’s Village Kigali locality to allow children under SOS Family Care and the surrounding community benefit of high-quality standard education. The school, known for its extensive academic excellence and secure and caring environment enabled children over decades experience success and achieve their full potential.

Prior to the COVID-19 school closure, the SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali accommodated around 402 students in 15 classes out of which 63 children were under SOS Children’s Villages Family Care while 339 students attended from the surrounding community.

Along with the planned expropriation and raise of quality schools at SOS Children’s Village Kigali location’s close proximity, SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali is planning to withdraw from school management in January 2021 to hand over its operations to Pharo Foundation. The Pharo Foundation’s vision is a self-reliant Africa, their school’s goal is to further the Foundation’s vision by providing a rigorous and relevant education rooted in developing problem solving skills, fostering creative and innovative thinking and equipping students with a high standard of English literacy.

Opening the SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali temporarily on the premises of the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda

In the meantime, SOS Children’s Villages Rwanda signed an agreement with the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda to rent 14 classrooms on their premises located nearby SOS Children’s Village Kigali.
Following the Rwandan Ministry of Education’s calendar issued in October 2020, Primary Five and Six resumed their second term studies on November 2nd after over seven months of suspension since March 2020 amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19. The school availed two classrooms for P6 students and two for P5 students.

Jean Baptiste Habimana, a teacher of Social Studies at Primary Six explained that SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali facilitated digital learning from home during the seven-month closure of schools.

Out of 135 students who were supposed to resume class on November 2nd, 10 did not attend class as five enrolled to private online schools upon their parents’ initiative and the other five students re-integrated from the SOS Children’s Village Family Care model into their extended families.

Today on November 23rd, 2020, Primary Four students accommodated in 3 classrooms were able to resume second term studies while students of Primary One to Primary Three and Nursery will have to wait for at least January 2021.
As stated by the Principal of the School, Mr. Jean Claude Murindankiko, out of expected 68 students to resume class, 61 attended class today and a follow up will be undertaken to elaborate the reason for the 7 students who did not show-up as expected.

The School Principal appreciates the interim facility on the premises of the Association of Baptist Churches. “The compound is quite spacious and clean with green areas covered with grass. The classroom floors are all covered with modern tiles and many clean bathrooms are available for the children. We all feel very safe and comfortable here”, he explained.

The Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali bought new chairs and table to equip the 7 classrooms which are now operational. The remining 7 classrooms will be refurbished to accommodate 189 additional students from Primary 1 to 3 who are expected to join in January 2021.

Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali has put in place all the required COVID-19 prevention and control measures on the compound and availed free sanitizer, facemasks, 10 modern COVID-19 prevention tap and wash facilities and soaps. Other measures include keeping the premises clean, enforcing social distancing measures, cleaning classrooms and grounds and spraying disinfectant around facilities to reduce the risk of infections.

The facility consists of 14 classrooms, a girl’s room, COVID-19 girls and boys isolation rooms and teachers’ room.
During the COVID-19 seven-month school closure, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School Kigali continued to pay salaries to their teachers.

As of today, 19 SOS Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali teachers including the School Principal and one Librarian continue to work under the school’s interim management prior to the handover to the Pharo Foundation. Six additional teachers will be recruited by December 2020 to be deployed to Primary 1 to 3 and replace the teachers who retired in September 2020.
According to Habimana, all students who attend school are doing well and are working hard to catch up their lessons. “The students and their parents were not affected by the relocation of the school as we had communicated the plan far in advance”, he explained.

The Herman Gmeiner Primary School Kigali school property will be relocated on an extensive 3.1-hectare land plot in Gisozi sector availed by the City of Kigali. On this property, SOS Children’s Village Kigali will invest into construction works of a new school to be operated by the Pharo Foundation starting after signature of a lease agreement. The construction works will be financed by SOS Children is Villages Rwanda and are expected to begin in January 2021.


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