Friday, September 13 was the grand opening of the Gasave Public Park Library and celebration of International Literacy month. This has been a labour of love for Elizabeth and Paul as well as more than 20 volunteers for the past 5 months.
The library, which was completely funded by Book Aid International, started out as a shipping container that was brought to Rwanda from Canada by Grace Rwanda in the spring. After many, many obstacles, the container finally found a home in the mudugudu (village) of Gasave. Once completed, the library can hold up to 5000 books – 4500 in English and other languages and another 500 in the local language of Kinyarwanda. There is also a wonderful area for a children’s reading corner and outside benches and tables that can seat up to 50 people.
There were many important guests who made the trip to be at the opening ceremonies :
- The Vice Mayor of Social Affairs Gasabo District
- Representative of the Minister of Education
- Representative of the Ministry of Sports & Culture
- A Rwanda Language & Culture Representative
- Chairman of Rwanda Writers Federation
- Representative of Rwanda Publisher’s Association
- Representative of the police of Gisozi
- Executive Secretary of Gisozi Sector
- Chief of Gasave Mudugudu
- A board member of Grace Rwanda from Canada
- Rwandan Community Library Forum
But most importantly, there were students from the local elementary a high schools plus many Gisozi residents.
The ceremonies started with some traditional dancing from the Dance Troupe Amaliza of Gisozi – children who are part of the Ineza Sunday school and reading club. They were taught by the mothers who are a part of the Blessing Women’s Group, where they learn many useful skills such as sewing, crafts, and business skills for job creation.
After the dancing, several of the guests made speeches thanking Grace Rwanda/Ineza Foundation for their hard work getting the library up and operational through local and international partnerships, as well as encouraging the students and community guests to use the library and continue reading and learning.
After the guests spoke, the top 10 students from three local schools were congratulated and given prizes for their reading/writing competition speeches. The theme of this years’ competition was “reading and writing in different languages is a source of knowledge.”
Finally, once all this is over, it is time for the grand tour of their new library.