About the Founders
COFAPRI was co-founded by husband and wife team, Mugisho Theophile and Valerie Bahati.
Bahati was born in Bukavu, the capital city of South Kivu province in eastern DR Congo, on the south-western edge of Lake Kivu.
“Both my mother and father brought me up in a loving environment. They used to teach us how to be close to old people and those who are abandoned to their fate.
I am the first born in a family of six children; three girls and three boys. But we lived with other children of our relatives at home in a perfect union and mutual cooperation.
My childhood was my inspiration for the future as we grew up in a well united family; we also learned that nothing is comparable to love, true love among people. This was a joyful moment for me.”
Bahati went to nursery and primary school at Lycée Wima in Bukavu; secondary school, Commerce and Administration, in the same institution. She went on to work as Coordinator of Youth at Kadutu Parish.
Mugisho was born at Ntendera, a village in South Kivu.
“When I was a child, I grew up in the hands of my paternal grandmother and was helping her with housework; when she died in 1980, I was in Primary 5, then I rejoined my mother.
My family was an average size in the African context, three boys and three girls.
My childhood was great. My parents and paternal grandmother took care of me positively; this is the reason why I completed my primary and secondary studies well.
I lived in a harmonious family where love and communication abound. The neighbours were good friends and their children were like our brothers and sisters; they used to come home to share food with us. My parents were not discriminatory as they used to tell us that if you don’t like your neighbours, even if you are rich, you will die like a dog, ie there is no real life if one is isolated.”
Mugisho did his primary education at Cibimbi Garçons up to Primary 5. In Primary 6, he went to the Marist Brothers’ Weza High School where he also completed his secondary school in general education.
In 1990, he entered the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de Bukavu ISP Bukavu (Bukavu Teachers’ Training College). He left with a Bachelor in Education (English Language Teaching).
Bahati and Mugisho met in Bukavu, in 1995, when Bahati was still at school and Mugisho was studying to become a teacher.
They married six years later, in 2001.
By now, they are living in Rwanda, where they had moved in search of work.
In 2005, Mugisho began teaching English at Kigali Independent University (ULK) – bachelor level, and today he is also teaching at master’s level.
Today, he is a Course Facilitator at Kepler, Southern New Hampshire University –Kigali.
In May 2007, their daughter, Shengamungu Jemima, was born.
In November 2009, Bahati and Mugisho set up a new initiative, COFAPRI, to help the women and children back in their home villages.
Also in 2009, Mugisho registered for Masters in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies with the University of KwaZulu Natal UKZN, Durban South Africa and completed it in 2011.
Their son, Samuel Mugisho, was born in April 2011.
In 2014, daughter Bethel Kagasha joined the family.
Mugisho is doing a PhD in Gender and Development with the University of KwaZulu Natal.
To this day, Bahati is still in touch with her school teachers and former colleagues and Mugisho, likewise, has kept in touch with the people from his former primary and secondary schools, teachers and colleagues. Bahati and Mugisho often visit their home regions and COFAPRI sponsors the education of some children who attend his former school.
COFAPRI is growing from strength to strength and now works in 64 villages. In December 2013, COFAPRI officially registered as a local organisation in South Kivu. In April 2016, the organization joined the South Kivu Civil Society.