Two UR-finalist journalism students vanished after concluding their fully sponsored six-month internship training in Sweden on their way to Copenhagen (Denmark) airport back to Rwanda.
UR-Fojo Project initiated the internship program. This professional development project is under Fojo Media Institute, a Swedish organization that has an official MoU with the University of Rwanda (UR).
This abroad hands-on journalism programme aims at sharpening the skills of emerging journalists in an international professional setting.
In 2018, as part of the programme activities, four best performing finalist students went to Sweden to acquire various reporting skills, including Media and News Literacy, Media and Intercultural Communication, E-Health in Global Perspective as well as Arts and Landscape Painting.
Two male students disappeared on the way from Kalmar city (Sweden) by train to Copenhagen (Denmark) airport.
“According to the information I received, the two boys were traveling back home. The first leg of the trip is by train from Kalmar to the airport in Copenhagen. Apparently, the boys got off the train before it left Sweden,” Anki Wood, the project Manager in Rwanda and Kenya highlighted.
Mr. Alex Buyinza, the Fojo Project coordinator in Rwanda, also confirmed the disappearance of the two boys.
Mr. Buyinza said, “Under a partnership between Linnaeus University and University of Rwanda, we sent four students, two girls and two boys from UR’s School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) for the Summer Academic programme. Unfortunately, both boys did not return when the training ended.”
When asked about sending other students on a similar summer academic training, Mr. Buyinza said that the disappearance of the two students led to the temporary suspension of this internship programme.
In a March-2019-Pan-African Movement forum held at UR-Huye Campus, Dr. Alphonse Muleefu, the principal of UR’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) said that their disappearance posed a challenge to international internship opportunities for UR students. “We won’t send more students to Sweden,” Dr. Muleefu revealed.
Speaking to The Kaminuza Star, Dr. Raphael Nkanka, the former SJC Dean also observed that this act of the two former students was unacceptable but added that this won’t stop other planned project activities.
“We would be glad if they came back home, but even if they did not come back the programme will not be terminated,” the former dean said.
Fojo Media Institute is based at Linnaeus University, one of the biggest universities in Sweden. The organization has the mission of promoting free, independent and professional journalism. It gets its funding from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Linnaeus University.
The partnership between UR and Fojo Media Institute started back in 2015.
Reporters in Rwanda have also benefited from UR-Fojo Project through various professional training sessions.