Scholarship Fund for Presbyterains at PIASS
Education is currently one of the highest priorities of the Rwandan government. Approximately 40 percent of the population is illiterate, and 50 percent live below the poverty line. The average daily income of the poor in Rwanda is about 20 cents. There is only one Protestant seminary for the entire country, PIASS. At the government’s behest, it has now expanded to become a recognized University. PIASS is a facility of higher education with three colleges, each offering a four-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree. These include the College of Theology and Religion, the College of Education, and the College of Community Development.
The Protestant churches in Rwanda established the School of Theology in Butare in 1970 as a non-denominational Protestant seminary that would meet the needs of the mainline churches of the country: the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda, the Free Methodist Church of Rwanda, the United Baptist Church of Rwanda, and the Anglican Church of Rwanda. The seminary has a full-time faculty of about six, and a number of visiting European professors who come for brief periods to teach specific classes. Enrollment is over 200 students. Most of the ministers in Rwanda have been trained at this seminary, including the Anglican bishop of Shyogwe and the Free Methodist bishop of Rwanda.
The Presbyterian Church of Rwanda – the third largest denomination in Rwanda – and most of the other Protestant denominations in the country train nearly all of their clergy in this institution. It is also commonly used by Protestant denominations in Burundi and DR Congo. Consequently, PIASS is of tremendous strategic importance to these three countries. The scholarships are needed to establish solid funding for Presbyterian students. Currently, only two female students are sponsored by a U.S. congregation through Outreach. We are looking for more U.S. congregations to come alongside the Church in Rwanda that lost most of its clergy during the genocide in 1994.
Minimum Goal for 2016
$15,000 – $3,000 for each student per year for scholarships and fees