Alice Uwizeye was born on February 20, 1998. She was only about 18 months old when her father, John Bosco Kabayiza, died in a tragic accident. Late one night his wife was about to deliver their second child but was having difficulty in the delivery. He didn’t have any means of transportation so he went with someone on a motorcycle to find a car that could take his wife to the hospital. On the way the motorcycle was hit by a truck that did not stop; they were thrown into a ditch along the side of the road and were not found until the next day. Alice’s mother gave birth to a baby daughter while he was still missing. Unfortunately, the little girl that was born that day died about two years later.
Alice was 10 years old and just starting her second year in Primary School (P2) in January 2009 when the Baltimore office of Jacobs Engineering began sponsoring her. She could not have gone to a good school without outside support. In fact, she had been going to a poor school before that time and, as a result, was not performing well and had even had to repeat one grade. Most if not all of the people in Jacobs’ Baltimore office donated the money that was necessary to pay for the tuition, boarding costs, and school supplies so Alice could attend school that year. Together as an office they have continued to do the same thing every year since, and so Alice is now in her fifth year of Primary school (P5).
When we first started sponsoring her and with Emmie Asaba’s guidance, we sent Alice to Morning Star Academy, which is a boarding school where she stayed during each school term. It was a better school than the one she had been attending before that time. However, in 2010 we moved her to Bright Academy because, based on Emmie’s oversight and monitoring, we had some concerns that Morning Star was not looking after her as well as we would have liked. Also, Bright Academy, which is also a boarding school, is a superior school academically. Alice has been attending Bright Academy ever since and only returns home to live with her mother (Mary Batamuliza) during school breaks.
In October 2010 Yves Twagirayezu, who is an engineer in the Baltimore office of Jabcobs Engineering, visited Bright Academy in order to meet Alice. The short video clip below was taken during that visit. In the video, Alice is sitting in the front row and is sitting on the left side at the desk that is immediately in front of the teacher. She is wearing a yellow t-shirt and green shorts. Near the end of the video Alice comes up to the chalkboard to practice an exercise.
Thanks to the support she receives, Alice is doing much better in school. Emmie reports that she is now up to 60% on her school report card whereas she was performing at only about the 30% level when she began (In Rwanda, 60% is good and 70-80% is excellent). She is also healthy and growing very fast. Emmie Asaba visited Alice and her mother at their home in November 2012 and reported that their home also looks much better, which is a good sign because it suggests that Alice’s mother is also working hard.
The slide show below chronicles our time with Alice since we first met her in March 2009. Hovering your mouse over a photo will cause the slide show to pause until the mouse is removed.