Seven Donates Books to Schools in Rwanda

Headmistress Sister Philomene Nyirahuku (Center) poses with her students, Justus and Seven United Leadership for a photo

Seven United is very grateful to the Nova family of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA for donating over 200 pounds’ worth of academic books to young people in Rwanda. Justus Uwayesu, Seven United’s Founder and Executive Director, used his monthlong break from graduate school to bring the books to Rwanda and distribute them to students who will make good use of them in the coming years. The science and mathematics books went to the students of Ecole Notre Dame de la Providence de Karubanda. The cookbooks went to aspiring chefs at Esther’s Aid Culinary Arts School.

Justus had to carry this weighty shipment all the way from the U.S. to Rwanda, sacrificing some of his luggage to find a place for it on the airplane. Ecole Notre Dame de la Providence de Karubanda’s School Headmistress Sister Philomene Nyirahuku observed of Justus’s generosity, “I am very surprised by this. Not everyone can think like you did, and many people don’t even know the value of books. But the way you took your time and left your luggage aside to bring this to Rwandan children shows how you value the contribution of everyone in promoting quality education from the early stage, especially in Science and Mathematics.”

But Justus was glad to do it, knowing how much it could mean to individual students. He recalled, “When I was in high school at IFAK [in Kigali], I was given 2 science books from the U.S. as a gift. Those books really helped me a lot, as they were hard to find locally and would have been extremely expensive.”

On this vacation from his masters degree program in Beijing, China, he first passed through the U.S. to visit friends and his college host family, the Nova family. As Annette and Dan Nova wondered where best to donate the books their daughters had used in school, Justus says he reflected immediately on how such books had helped him and asked if they might give the books to Seven United because he knew the worth they would have for secondary school students in Rwanda.

The school dean, teachers and students appreciating the textbooks

Ecole Notre Dame de la Providence de Karubanda’s Dean of Studies Mr. Benjamin Matabaro agreed with Justus’s assessment, telling Seven United, “These are highly valued books for high school students and teachers in their daily activities of learning and teaching.” He was glad Seven thought to bring the books to his students.

As he handed out the books, Justus also shared what he had learned in his years of education. He advised the students not to rely only on what their teachers gave them. Ambitious learners, he said, should know that they need to look for more knowledge in books and spend more time doing extra readings. He added that performing well on national exams requires a good deal of practice and that these books, fittingly, contain hundred of practice problems for the students to use.

The cookbooks Justus brought to Esther’s Aid Culinary Arts School were equally valuable. The books are full of various recipes from the best chefs in the U.S. food as well as recipes from different cuisines, including Thai, Italian, Mexican and many more. Some were even pastry baking books, which are especially sought after in Rwanda. Esther’s Aid is known to have trained hundreds of skilled cooks who are now working all across Rwanda, in almost every hotel in the country. The cookbooks will help prepare students for Rwanda’s fast-growing hospitality industry, allowing them to work with the diverse pool of tourists now pouring into Rwanda annually.

Esther’s Aid Culinary Arts students pose for a photo with their new cookbooks