Sunzu Village Community Center
Burera, Rwanda
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Location:
Burera, Rwanda
Category:
meeting place
Phase:
design development
Updated:
4 August 2021
A popular grassroots educational and peacebuilding effort in rural northern Rwanda, the Sunzu Village Multipurpose Center is a continuously growing initiative. Architectural NGO Journeyman International has designed all of the existing spaces in partnership with local professionals, but the next phase of development remains unbuilt due to gaps in funding and support. Join us and see the continued growth of a flourishing community gathering space!
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Introduction
Nestled in the remote mountains of Northern Rwanda near the borders to Uganda and DR Congo, the village of Sunzu is a small but vibrant community, comprised mainly of subsistence farmers. In the decades since the '94 genocide, this village has been working to emerge from the strongholds of extreme poverty, Recognizing its own need for self-sustained growth, several individuals in Sunzu got together to initiate a variety of community development programs for the education of children and training of adults in vocational and entrepreneurial skills. This gave way to a women-run cooperative to sell crafts, the construction of a library for community use, and partnerships with nearby tourism facilities to support these programs and local livelihoods. In 2016, the funds were raised to build a community library to be run by local educators and volunteers. This library grew in popularity beyond its capacity within a few years, requiring additional classrooms to be built next door by locally-trained masons. This grassroots initiative has been recognized and admired by global institutions and the Rwandan Ministry of Education, leading to further support and expansion of programs to impact thousands of children and adults across the entire region. The next stage of development now involves a community meeting space where existing programs can continue to expand in both size and impact. There is an architectural concept that has been shared amongst stakeholders, but a need for funding.
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Impact
This multipurpose facility expansion to the community center in Sunzu Village will have lasting ripple effects on youth and adults across the region. With a larger space to hold events, meetings, vocational trainings, and more, this village will be able to continue empowering people to make better lives for themselves. Various leaders in the area have expressed interest in hosting trainings in sustainable farming techniques, entrepreneurship programs, celebrations and church meetings, and more. Currently, there just is not enough sheltered space for people to meet and feel comfortable. Building this facility will be the final stage in the overall site plan to serve as a model for holistic, centralized, and productive community space. Ten years ago, this village center was one of many dots across the densely-populated topography of Rwanda. Now, Sunzu Library can easily be found on Google Maps and is a gathering hub for people of all backgrounds.
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Core team
Over the last decade, a number of individuals, community members, and charity organizations have come together in support of the local initiatives at Sunzu Village. As the needs have evolved, leaders have rallied the support of local governments and organizations to assure things like proper childhood nutrition, adult literacy, appropriate business practices, and family health standards are all met and exceeded. Organizations such as Yambi Rwanda (a charity for childhood development), East African Power (renewable energy company), Bridge to Rwanda (a high-level university scholarship program for Rwandan youth), Volcano Safaris (tourism company), and Journeyman International (architectural design NGO) have come alongside Sunzu Village to provide the necessary resources and network to reinforce these community initiatives. All of these organizations have invested years of partnership and relationship with local leaders and community members, and they continue to do so today. Heading up the design component of these facilities has been a combined effort between a local construction professional named Jean De La Paix, architect Carly Althoff from Journeyman International, engineer Vincent Hakizimana from East African Power, and a selected advisory group of Rwandan architectural professionals and local community member stakeholders.
Sunzu MP Team

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Image gallery
Sunzu Team

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Sunzu Community

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Sunzu Village View

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Traditional Dancers at Sunzu

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Inside Library 1

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Women Literacy Program

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Jean de Dieu Project Manager

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Classroom Construction

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Retaining Wall Construction

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Stairs Construction

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Classroom Construction

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New Classrooms Complete

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Young Dancers Performing

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Sunzu Kids

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Sunzu Kids at Site

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Technical drawings
Floor Plan MP Center

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Section 1 MP Center

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Exterior MP Center

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Detail Cut MP Center

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Section 2 MP Center

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Interior MP Center

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Help bring our project to life!

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Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
Our team has the appropriate implementors on the ground, ready to start building. We have prepared the site with infrastructure, drainage and soil retention to assure the site is properly set up for development. All donations raised in past years through various partner charities (around EUR 10,000) had been directed to these site works, so we are now at square one of funding for the remainder of the construction works. We anticipate a total cost of about 80,000 EUR to complete the multipurpose facility at Sunzu Village.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
10% funding already raised
100% expertise already found
100% materials / equipment already found
100% builders already found
Finance: € 83,000
All of the remaining funding raised will go directly into construction materials and hiring local masons, contractor, and engineer to complete the build. We aim to fully support the Sunzu community by providing jobs and training to those who will be taking ownership of the space, once the dream is realized. The impact will be a facility that is locally-designed, materials locally-sourced, and built entirely by the people who will care for it in the long term.
  • Concrete
  • 12,000
  • Masonry
  • 20,000
  • Carpentry
  • 4,000
  • Waterproofing
  • 5,000
  • Doors and Windows
  • 5,000
  • Finishes and Furnishings
  • 10,000
  • Electrical
  • 5,000
  • Labor
  • 12,000
  • Additional Site Works
  • 10,000
    Skills: Design, PR & Marketing
    As we proceed with needed refinements to the current design, we will require some architectural support to go into more detail on construction documentation. The building design is quite conceptual and will need to develop with enough specifications that can be articulated and translated well to the local team, and having professional support in taking the design to the next level will breathe even more vibrancy into this space when it all comes together. The team is open to adding creative new ideas to the existing concept!
    Design Discussions on Site

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    Help bring our project to life!
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