Rwanda New Times March 2011


Rural Women to Train in Solar Energy in India


Mike Hughes and Mayor Louis Rwagaju with the women after receiving their travel documents. (Photo S. Rwembeho)

26th March 2011

Bugesera-Four women from Bugesera district will travel to Barefoot College in India, for a six-month training in solar energy installation and maintenance.

Claudine Uwimana, 48, Odette Mukarumongi, 50, Cecile Nyiramubandwa, 48 and Dative Mukantabana,47 all residents of Karambi village in Nyamata sector, will travel on Monday.

The training is funded by the government of India, while Rwanda United Kingdom Goodwill Organisation (RUGO) will raise 25,000 Pound Sterling required to install solar power in 110 houses in Karambi village.The women will learn how to fabricate, install and maintain solar powered household lighting system. They are expected to use their skills, to install lights in the Karambi homes.The quartet were yesterday briefed on the arrangements and given the necessary travel documents.

Mike Hughes, the Chairman of RUGO, explained why this particular training is unique. “It is amazing that rural grandmothers are trained to be formidable Solar Engineers. Wait after six months, these women will be performing miracles in Karambi village, yet they never went beyond primary school,” he said.

Louis Rwagaju, the Mayor of Bugesera, reminded the women the importance of the training. He appealed to them to focus all their attention on the training, saying  that their fellow residents expected a lot from them.

Claudine Uwimana, the group leader, said that she was excited.“The fact that I have never travelled beyond Kigali, notwithstanding, I am boarding a plane to India. I will beat all odds including the language barrier, to gain enough skills to have solar energy in my village,” she said.