School Days

During the rainy season of 1991, when Uwineza was five years old, her father was killed in a car accident. Three years later, her mother fell sick, was admitted to a Kigali hospital and after one month, died.

Unlike any of their relatives, Uwineza and her two sisters survived the 1994 genocide. Determined to make their parents proud, the girls resumed school shortly after order was restored in Rwanda.

Today, Uwineza and her sisters, all St. Famille Primary School students, remain focused on their education. "Because we take care of our ourselves, some people like to refer to us as a child family," Uwineza professes. "Sisters concentrating on our studies, are who we really are."

She takes pleasure in the routine of school. The study habits she and her sisters have developed and honed reflect their daily classroom schedules. As a primary-six student, Uwineza's Monday through Friday unfold the same.

6:30 - 7:15 a.m.

7:15 - 7:30

7:30 - 7:45

8:00 - 9:00

9:00 - 9:30

9:30 - 10:00

10:00 - 11:00

11:00 - 12:00

12:00 - 2:00

Wake, shower and eat breakfast

Walk to school

Bell rings, students pray and sing the national anthem

Math lecture with exercises



French grammar with exercises



Each day, Uwineza joins her two sisters and together they return home for lunch. Living fifteen minutes from St. Famille, they have a distinct advantage over their classmates. "It is nice to quickly walk home, cook something to eat and tidy up the house," she shares. "We're back to school in an hour to play before the bell rings." Her afternoon classes are no less rigorous then the mornings'.

2:00 - 2:30

2:30 - 3:00

3:00 - 4:00

4:00 - 4:45

4:45 - 5:00

Morale and discipline


English grammar and exercises

Kinyarwanda grammar and exercises

Closing prayer and song and students are dismissed

While there are no subjects Uwineza dislikes, she finds a few to be difficult. "French and geography are not easy," she admits with a grin. "I try hard in English and math class because they are two subjects I like."

The school day over, Uwineza walks home, relaxes for an hour and prepares dinner before she begins her homework. When finished eating, her exercise books are opened.

"My older sister helps me the best she can with my homework," Uwineza smiles. "If there is a math problem neither of us understand, our neighbours sometime help."

The girls are usually in bed around 9:00 p.m., as they like to be well rested for the start of the new school day. "Together we pray before we fall asleep," she allows. "We thank God for all he has given us and we then ask that he tell our mom and dad that we miss them and that we are doing well."