By Arnold Neliba
KIBEHO, FEBRUARY 9, 2024 (CISA) –The President of Poland Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda made a special trip to Our Lady of Kibeho Shrine and the Institute for Blind Children at the end of their three-day visit to Rwanda.
During the visit, he emphasized the importance of the presence of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross Congregation in Kibeho, where they have been providing not only spiritual support but also other forms of assistance to the Rwandan population.
“Nelson Mandela once said that education is the strongest weapon against the injustice of the world and inequalities between people. I wholeheartedly thank the sisters, the Rwandan authorities and the local authorities for the fact that this school is here and brings education, a very special education,” President Duda remarked.
“Running such a school requires exceptional skills on the part of the teaching staff, but also an understanding of the problem and an extremely visionary view on the part of the central and local authorities,” he said.
President Duda likened the school in Kibeho to the Polish centre for the blind and visually impaired children in Laski terming it, a great Polish pride. The centre is also run by the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross Congregation, a sister congregation founded by Blessed sister Róża Czacka.
The Center for Blind Children in Kibeho was founded by Sr Rafaela Nałęcz from the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross. The plan to establish the facility was approved by the Rwandan government, and the financial resources for its construction were provided by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The centre began operating in September 2008, when the first group of children were admitted. In 2009, a primary school was established as the first school for the blind in Rwanda.
“My wife and I come here with pride and emotion because we know that when Sister Rafaela started her mission, she was very strongly supported by the First Lady, Maria Kaczyńska, the First Lady of Poland, who was the patron of this project – emphasized the President,” said President Andrzej Duda.
The president during his address revealed that the project was supported from the very beginning by the Polish authorities, also financially by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He added that Poland continues to systematically support the centre.
The president was received by the Archbishop of Kigali, Cardinal Antoine Kambanda, and the Bishop of Gikongoro Diocese, Hakizimana Célestin alongside the Governor of the Southern Province, Kayitesi Alice, and the Mayor of Nyaruguru District, Dr Murwanashyaka Emmanuel.
The President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda together with his Spouse Agata Kornhauser–Duda embarked on a state visit to East Africa beginning with Kenya on February 5 to 6 followed by Rwanda from February 6 to 8. He arrived in the United Republic of Tanzania on February 8. His visit ends today February 9. His visit to the three African nations aims at strengthening bilateral ties and cooperation with Poland.