NGABONZIZA Louis who is the founder of Empowering Children with Disabilities(EmCD) is an experienced teacher of the deaf since 1997 when living in Butare which is in the Southern Province of Rwanda. Here, there is a large and well established Deaf School which was set up by catholic brothers, the first provision for Deaf Children to be set up in Rwanda. Louis has never had any formal teacher training but learnt ’on the job’ from more experienced teachers. He developed a passion for helping deaf children. There is as yet, no state provision for Deaf children in Rwanda. If they cannot manage in the local school, many will stay at home, help with the chores - collecting water, cleaning, working in the fields - and receive no education. There are very few schools for Deaf children in Rwanda, and they are all depend heavily on outside agencies for their funding.
In 2008 he and a relative, established a Centre for deaf children in Nyange, just north of Musanze. This was the first provision in this area for deaf children. He worked here as a teacher and Head teacher for 5 years. Then in January 2013, he decided to set up his own Centre in Nyabihu, a 40-minute drive west of Musanze, which is the place of his birth and family home. Again, there was no provision in this area for Deaf children. The school started with 31 children, and now four years later, has 135.
He found some accommodation that he could rent, and started his Centre. He approached the local schools to see if they would be willing to have Deaf children in their classes. They agreed, and now, with support from his teachers at the centre, there are 53 children attending the local mainstream schools.
From 2015, we decided to start Empowering Children with Disabilities- a Local NGO in which this centre would be found as one projects for the organization. Now, we are Empowering Children with Disabilities(EmCD) with about four projects namely : Nyabihu Deaf School (former Nyabihu Demonstration Centre for the deaf), Inclusive Education project (Learning Support Assistant Support Scheme and teachers training about inclusion), Advocacy projects (Community advocacy events and school clubs), Communication camps for families with children with Multiple disabilities and families empowerment.
Now, EmCD has got about 8 administrative and field work staff, 14 teachers of the deaf and 36 Volunteer Learning Support Assistants.