Rwandan teaching student thanks Risby school for its support

Habimana Theoneste Nelson (centre) with Christine Anthony (left) and Anna Berridge (right)
Habimana Theoneste Nelson (centre) with Christine Anthony (left) and Anna Berridge (right)
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A teaching student from Rwanda thanked the Bury St Edmunds school which helped to fund his studies after he qualified from university last month.

Habimana Theoneste Nelson was given money by Risby CEVC Primary School back in 2012 to pursue his dream.

Habimana Theoneste Nelson (centre) with his family.

Habimana Theoneste Nelson (centre) with his family.

Anna Berridge, who was headteacher at the time, said: “We had a Connecting Classrooms link with a school in Nyamasheke, Rwanda. This was set up as a result of the Suffolk County Council link with Rwanda which came during the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games when the Rwandan teams trained in Bury.

“Over the years since the Olympics we worked with our link school, GS Mukoma and hosted visiting teachers.”

Funds were raised by the schoolchildren who held a talent show and were given £5 along the theme of the Parable of the Talents and encouraged to turn it into more money.

They managed to raise £3,009 which enabled Nelson to qualify from The University of Rwanda.

Mrs Berridge flew out to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, for the graduation in August with cards of congratulations from pupils still at the school.

She said: “Those of us connected with Risby School throughout the history of the project are proud of what the children achieved through their amazing fund-raising.

“Despite many challenges along the way Nelson achieved something very special and we are all delighted about that.”

The obstacles he faced included moving to the city and leaving his home and family for four years, doing a two and a half hour walk to and from his teaching practice school for four days a week and learning to speak, read and write very good English which is the language of education now in Rwanda.

After the ceremony Nelson returned home to the Western province and got a job teaching in a secondary school.

In a message to Risby School, Nelson said: “I am immeasurably thankful to the whole community of Risby School for their kind support in helping me through my studies to university.

“Special thanks to the retired headteacher Mrs Anna Berridge, Mrs Sarah Geileskey, teachers, students, parents at Risby and all the other friends who supported me morally and financially all along my studies.

“God bless all them.”