Thursday, 6 June 2013

Byimana school to rebuild at Rwf700m


Rebuilding and furnishing gutted Byimana School of Sciences infrastructure could cost more than Rwf700 million, authorities have said.
Brother Alphonse Gahima, the head teacher, on Tuesday said the damages caused by the fire were beyond repair and the buildings will need to be demolished and rebuilt afresh. 
The school has suffered three fire incidents in 40 days. Three dormitories and a chapel were razed to ghostly remains in the fires, whose cause remains a mystery as Police investigate.
Reconstruction kick off 
Brother Gahima, who was on Tuesday speaking to reporters shortly after meeting members of the Senatorial Committee on Social Affairs and Human Rights, who visited the school to assess the situation, said the school has so far collected Rwf255 million to start the reconstruction.
Therese Bishagara Kagoyire, the standing committee’s chairperson, said the tour would allow them to ‘report facts’ about the school’s current situation. 
The head teacher said the money was donated by government through the Ministry of Education.
“Our challenge is raising all required funds to complete reconstruction of all the blocks,” he said.
Bishagara promised “to do everything possible to push the government to take action and resolve the issue urgently.” 
“We are here, first to comfort students and support their leaders after these incidents and then ask concerned authorities to take appropriate action. We must make sure that students are secure,” Bishagara said. 
The senators donated Rwf1 million to support the reconstruction efforts.
‘Shocking fires’ 
After visiting the gutted structures, the team of five senators accompanied by the Governor of Southern Province, Alphonse Munyantwari, and Ruhango mayor Francois Xavier Mbabazi, held discussions with students and staff.  
The senators promised to advocate for installation of fire extinguishers in schools and in all public buildings.  
“We plan to engage with the government in order to see how extinguishers can be available in all necessary places. In case of fire outbreak, it can be contained without causing serious damages,” Bishagara told the students and staff at the Ruhango-based school.  
There have been three consecutive fire outbreaks at the school since late April.
The fires have gutted three dormitories and a chapel. 
The value of the gutted structures and property is estimated to be between Rwf300 million and 400 million, according to school authorities. 
The incidents have raised concerns among students, educators and authorities with suspicion of arson on many people’s minds. 
Studies interrupted
The incidents have interrupted the academic programme, with the affected students being sent home for about a week following the April 23 first fire, as support efforts are conducted. 
Although other students continue with normal studies, anxiety looms in the air among the students as there is no knowing if the “ghost” haunting the school with fire will strike again. 
Sandrine Nikuze, a Senior Six student, said: “Every time nowadays, you keep thinking there might be fire outbreak somewhere here again. If there is loadshedding, we get chills as our minds race straight into the fire incidents.” 
Other students said they should be allowed to go home for at least a week to refresh their minds. 
But Brother Gahima said they will keep counselling the students to overcome their fears.


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