The organization of Rwandan schools is very similar to that of the United States. There are primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools, and universities. Primary schools can begin with the kindergarten level and continue through the sixth grade; students in these grades are referred to as being in grades P1 through P6. Secondary schools begin with the 7th grade and continue through the 12th grade; students in these grades are referred to as being in grades S1 through S6 (sometimes these grade levels are also referred to verbally as “Senior One” through “Senior Six”).

The closest Secondary school to Emmie’s village is about 6km away and is called Gabiro High School. Since Gabiro is located in the upcountry, it’s hard to have the best teachers and enough text books. In Rwanda like most African countries, there are First Class, Second Class, and Third Class schools. The performance of the students from these school categories vary because of the resources available at the schools, which are also correlated with the amount of the tuition fees paid. Other things are also affected by the tuition fees and the quality of the school. For example, at higher-class schools, students also have more teachers and chaperones overseeing them and they eat better food.

Below is an overview of the cost per student to attend school for one year. It is broken into two lists: 1) one-time items the kids will need just to go to school, and 2) things they would need every term.

One-time items:

  • Mattress
  • Blanket
  • Bed sheets
  • Towel
  • School uniforms & clothing
  • Ordinary shoes
  • Suit case / duffle bag
  • Basin / water pail
  • Mathematical set
  • Rulers

Total estimated cost of one-time items: $150

Items needed each term:

  • Tuition fees
  • Exercise books
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Laundry soap
  • Bathing soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Medical insurance

Total estimated cost for all three terms: $460