Burundi (MNN) — With after-school hours focused on necessary household chores, children in Mufumya, Burundi, had precious few–if any–daylight hours for homework before nightfall. When darkness fell, children studied by the light of kerosene lamps or wood fires, which provided poor light and cost parents badly-needed funds. Burundi is one of the five poorest countries in the world.
Today Mufumya Primary School is lit at night, and more than 40 students show up after dark to further their education. The school is powered by solar energy harnessed through a new solar panel. The panel was installed in February 2013, and by the end of March 2013, more than 40 primary and secondary students were coming to the school each evening to study their notes in the well-lit space. Most students only attended school for a half a day, so this extra study time is extremely important for their development.
The desire to support the children's education was born out of the Mufumya community. It was made possible through a partnership between the Mufumya community Food for the Hungry and two Canadian partners.
Gerard Bizimana is a sixth grade student who attends Mufumya Primary School. Before the solar panel lit the school, he studied by poor light at night. "I was using the paraffin lamp light to memorize my notes," Bizimana said. "It was so hard. I was getting tired quickly and then had to wake up very early in the morning to revise my notes. At the end of the first quarter in December 2012, I got 58% and was the 23rd out of 72 students. This second quarter, I got 69% and was the 15th. I expect to improve performance as I continue to use the solar panel light."
Bizimana is not alone. "For quarter one, the school performance for grade six was 81.6%, " said Evariste Havyarimana, the principal of Mufumya Primary School. "After moving into the new classroom with solar panel light, they have increased their performance to 98.05% at the end of quarter two."
In addition, the solar panel is generating income for the primary school. The community around the school comes for charging their mobile telephones, and the school charges a reasonable fee. From April 6 to 9, the school was able to earn about $3 USD in three days, which means that, on average, the school will be earning $90 monthly for the new system.
Pray that the new classroom will be used to share about Christ. Praise the Lord that the solar panels are allowing students to learn more.