During the final week of November 2022, Jesuit Urumuri Centre visited Groupe Scolaires Musenyi, Rilima Catholique and Janjagiro in the Eastern province. This was in an effort to continue the ongoing activities of tree-planting at JUC’s 14 partner schools for the environment conservation project.
Speaking to environment conservation clubs at the schools, JUC assistant director Mr. Pierre Nyandwi, SJ, dwelled on the concern the church and the government have over the well-being of the youth. He thanked his Holiness Pope Francis as well as the government of Rwanda for caring about the environment; “Our Church and our country love us very much, they wish health and prosperity especially for you our youth. They have called all to plant trees in order to restore our environment. We answer that call by not only planting the trees but by ensuring they are fruit trees so you can benefit doubly from them”.
This project was intended as a means to conserve the environment through improved land utilization to support school feeding for vulnerable children in the archdiocese of Kigali. JUC allocated 320 fruit trees to plant at each of the partner schools. When harvesting begins, it is the Centre’s hope that school children’s meals will be supplemented by the fruits. The remaining fruit will be sold for revenue which will then assist vulnerable children at the schools with their school-feeding programs.
Mentors of the environment clubs at the schools shared their delight at the project implementation at their schools;
“Trees are essential for many things as we all know. One of the simpler things that is often overlooked is their shade. When the heat of the sun is excessive, if you watch carefully, we often run to stand under a tree, or walk on the side of the road that has more trees. This project therefore is great, the planting of these trees will not only improve our children’s diet but serve many other purposes that we often take for granted” ~ Felicien Habineza, mentor, GS Musenyi
“We have had issues at this school, of destruction of buildings due to strong winds. For our school this project comes as an answered prayer and kills two birds with one stone. We have been longing to plant trees to fight the strong winds and now these trees provided by JUC will feed our children as well” ~ Aurelie Bagwaneza, Mentor, GS Janjagiro
Jemove Twagirayezu, a student at GS Musenyi, commented on the importance of planning for future generations “Even though we are planting these trees and might not be here long enough to partake in the harvest, we are proud that our younger siblings and others who will come after us will benefit from them”.
Valens Ndindiriyimana, a student at GS Janjagiro also sees the project as a Godsent “Children especially in my neighborhood never have access to fruits that come from the trees we have planted. The few times we do, we eat the fruits with greed understandably. This project will change that. I am looking forward to eating my lunch with a fruit”.
JUC planted a total of 560 trees at the 3 schools including avocado, papaya, orange and passion fruit trees. These most recent activities brings the total number of trees planted at 2502 in 13 partner schools’ farms.
JUC Communication Officer