Rwamagana Special School was founded in 1979, is situated 50 km east of Kigali, near Rwamagana Hospital, Kigali-Kayonza Rd, Rwamagana District. Pupils with visual impairment attend special primary and secondary education, health care and even other relevant areas such as talent detection and games like goal ball. The school follows the official Government programme of MINEDUC (Ministry of Education). The school primarily supports visually impaired people from Rwanda, but is open to students with other disabilities or from neighboring countries, including Burundi. The school can support 200 student boarders. They are divided into small classes of 5 to 6 children in primary and 10 to 15 teenagers in high school.
The teaching staff consists of 25 teachers, including 6 who have partial vision. It is a private school licensed by the state. Teaching is conducted in English and the school specializes in languages French, English and Swahili and also teaches other subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics and social sciences etc. Visually impaired and people with partial vision are often forced to attend appropriately adapted centers because public schools do not have the right equipment and teachers are not trained in the specific disability.
The center develops two awareness axes, one with families and the other with the Government. The families are often very poor and do not always see the potential of their disabled child nor do they have an interest in their schooling. It took a lot of work to get parents to understand that children with visual impairment are able to study and live like others. The school ensures the families understand that an internship does not mean the disabled child has to live away from the family. Some parents living nearby are involved in school life and in the education of their child, but the majority of families live remotely and face transportation problems, often too expensive when they want to travel to Rwamagana and partipate in life at the school. Through its long experience in special education, HVP Rwamagana has the ear of the Government when it seeks to implement its inclusive education policy or social and professional integration of disabled people after school. The center of Rwamagana is authorized by the Ministry of Education to adjust and support national secondary examinations.
The statements are transcribed in Braille by the school a few hours before the tests. There is a system of "third time" allowing students to compensate for their disabilities by giving them extra time to write their exams. There are other possible arrangements where a child with visual impairment and no sensitivity in their fingers can sit the exam in a separate room using oral media. Sometimes children with visual impairment need to be cared for and accompanied by an adult who can help with their somatic diseases and / or because of their visual disability. All children were examined by the general practitioner at HVP Gatagara. If needed, the children are cared for at the somatic health center or at Rwamagana Hospital. Fortunately, all children are in possession of the mutual health insurance cards. In 2015, 12 children with visual impairment were treated at Kabgayi Hospital after the provision of health services for each child was approved, some of them had an operation.” The majority of children have low vision and were examined at the center. In collaboration with the AGARUWA hospital, two children had operations on their kneecaps.