Putting soldiers to work in Nyanza

I recently spent a morning in Nyanza, southern Rwanda at a vocational training school. I was there to shoot a selection of photographs from the carpentry, metal work, building, sewing and graphic design classes for an NGO. The school helps a large number of de-mobilized soldiers, and others, learn new skills so they can earn a living on civvy street. And with a whole lot of building planned in Rwanda for the coming years, I suspect there will be plenty of work for them. Below is a selection of photos from the school  in Nyanza. I’ll be working on a long-term photographic project for much of 2011, but am open to doing the occasional side project. If you have something interesting in mind, drop me a line on the email address at the top right of the page.

6 Responses to “Putting soldiers to work in Nyanza”

  1. Anon says:

    It is good to know that there is another vocational school. Apart from being a demobolized soldier how do you get a place there?

    If you want another subject for a photographic project, how about all the new school classrooms built for all the new S1 to S3 students? Many have been built by local people as well as the Army and prisoners in “prisons week”. Rwanda is justifiably proud of the number that have been built in a short time and presumably they do not all look the same.

    Bloggers “in exile” frequently claim that such projects do not exist so it would be nice for them to see the evidence and what the new buildings look like. And from today they will be in use for the first term of 2011.

  2. kigaliwire says:

    You just apply to join the centre like any other college. There are over 170 centres like this throughout Rwanda.

    Good point on the school system in Rwanda. It is a little “over done” maybe, especially with the one laptop per child thing and the switch to English, but will ponder.

    Deffo got an interesting topic to work on this year though. Will blog when I have things a little more fixed.

  3. Anon says:

    Yes, but what qualifications do you need (i.e. completed P6 or S3) and what are the fees?

    Sorry, what do you mean that the new classrooms are “overdone”?

  4. kigaliwire says:

    From 2009, they have to have completed the basic 9 years of school. For adults i.e. non-school leavers it’s a little different.

    They have to pay. Cost depends on course and materials needed, but it’s not cheap really – think of all the wood, metal and whatnot that they need to train with.

    As for overdone, I just mean every journalist who comes here ends up in a classroom at some point. Often with one of those laptops. Not sure if there’s much new to bring to the table

  5. Anon says:

    Thanks. Extending free schooling from 6 to 9 years seems an important achievement, particularly when, in many African countries, millions of children do not go to school at all. Also to get the classrooms built in an informal way, by local people, the Army etc seems also quite novel. Finally, you linked an article by Filip Reyntjens recently, from African Affairs, an apparently learned journal from the Royal African Society. The article “benefitted from comments” by various others such as Lemarchand, Waldorf etc. The second para states that “there is consensus in the international scholarly community” that the Rwandan govt gives “little attention to the fate of the vast majority of its population made up of ever poorer peasants”. There are a number of reasons why this is nonsense but there are a number of people who clearly believe that stories of extending free education to the poorest (with it seems from what you say the chance of then getting vocational training) are an invention. Photographs of children attending schools in the new buildings might make it more difficult for the likes of Reyntjens to get such nonsense printed in serious journals. Health insurance and the one cow per family programme are other examples of intiatives that help the poorest.

  6. kigaliwire says:

    There’s every chance I might get into some classrooms again soon. I hope so.

    TBH, it’s a little difficult doing photos, taking notes, interviewing and recording audio pretty much all at the same time. It’s something I realised when I did the bee keepers piece:


    I missed out on photos, text and audio all because I was trying to cover too many bases simultaneously.

    However, my focus will mainly be on a different story for the remainder of 2011. I hope to be able to say more next week.