Committee Founders



GIUSEPPE  BRAGHIERI: Giuseppe is a medical doctor with specializations in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery (University of Parma, 1976, 1981, and 1986 respectively). From 1986 to 1990 he worked as a war surgeon for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs first in Pakistan and then in Zaire (now Congo-RDC). After a specialization in Health Management at Bocconi University (Milan, 1991) and an interlude working for Italian NGO AISPO, Giuseppe was Health Program Coordinator in Rwanda, Somalia, Niger, Congo-Brazzaville, China, Syria and Vietnam (1994-2003) under different International Organizations. From 2004 to 2012 he worked as Health Program Coordinator for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs first in Uganda and then in Mozambique. He is currently consulting for Health Programs in Nepal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Most of Giuseppe’s work involved emergency, rehabilitation and development projects mainly in the Health Sector (hospital management, district health management, health financing, decentralization policy and teaching). He also published several articles in scientific journals. 

JeannetteJEANETTE GAHONGAYIRE: Jeannette is a graduate in clinical psychology from UNIK (Universty of KIBUNGO) in eastern RWANDA. She is a member of the Rwanda Association of Trauma Counselors (ARCT -RUHUKA). After the genocide perpetrated against Tutsis in RWANDA in 1994, she worked with the women and orphan survivors of the genocide helping with their psychological care. She was Regional Coordinator of AVEGA EST (Association of Widows of the Genocide Agahozo) for five years, coordinating psycho-economic activities. Jeannette is the president ETSK’s parent organization, the association Hameau des Jeunes Saint Kizito (H.J.S.K), founded in 1985, with the aim of helping vulnerable children under the initiative of Father Hermann Schulz. Jeannette is a member of the ADECCO (Association for Community Development through Communication), which works in the eastern part of the country and runs a community radio station.

massimo.jpgMASSIMO GIUGGIOLI: Born in 1962 in Milan, Italy, Massimo is an educator, play writer, and lover of clowns and comedy theatre. After receiving a degree in education in 1997, he authored the book “Somersaults Among the Stars,” the tale of a smile and the Barabba’s Clowns, to which he has devoted his life.  He has been a teacher at the Salesian Center in Arese (outside of Milan) since the age of 23.  And, with his wife, Angela, he worked with troubled children at the “Viletta” in Arese. In 1995 he met Father Hermann Schulz, a missionary in Rwanda, and worked with him to rebuild the orphanage, Hameau des Jeunes, that was virtually destroyed during the 1994 Rwandan civil war. Massimo founded the Barabba’s Clowns Association in 1996 and has used it every year to raise funds for the Hameau and to provide opportunities and character development to the youth of the village, as well as support for families in the surrounding hills. Massimo also coordinates regional theatrical productions and, with Barabba’s Clowns, continues to work with troubled young people to bring out their smiles.  Massimo has been instrumental in raising funds for the Hameau and the ETSK school, as well as overseeing their administration.

Rick Jay Board Member of St Kizito Technical High SchoolRICK JAY: Rick is an entrepreneur and graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca N.Y. and the Columbia University MBA program in New York City. He and his wife Sue Sawyer were involved in two medical products companies, Jay Medical and RIK Medical in Boulder CO.  Also an inventor, Rick holds over 20 U.S. and international patents, including a bicycle saddle soon to be commercialized by Trek.  Rick is fluent in Italian (his parents’ native language), French and Spanish.  He currently runs JARIK Medical, a non-profit he started to help provide 25,000 wheelchair cushions each year to people in developing countries.  And he is chairman of the board of Brock USA, a Boulder-based company, ran by two of this sons, Dan and Steve. Rick is sharing his management and planning experience with Alexia and the staff at ETSK, starting with the building of the 2017 annual plan, then proceeding to a 3-year strategic plan.

LAURA  MASSARENTI: (Pictured above) Laura is a psychologist, (University of Padova, 1976) and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist (ASIPSE –  AIAMC Italian Association for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Milan 1993) from Piacenza, Italy.  She owns a psychotherapy practice and works as a psychologist supervisor in educational communities for deprived youth. Beforehand, Laura worked at the Department of Medical Psychology at San Raffele Hospital (Milan) treating patients with AIDS and depressive disorders. She is fluent in French and English and lived for two years in a remote RDC (Congo Democratic Republic) village contributing to an initiative on women’s literacy and family planning. Laura met Fr. H. Schulz in Rwanda in 1981 and has remained in contact ever since. She helped to support Alexia Nkurunziza, present Director of HJSK, while Alexia was studying at Piacenza university. Laura’s happy to share her experience and skills with the Musha school and community.

IMG-20160803-WA0004.jpgALEXIA NRURUNZIZA, School Manager:  Married and mother of two children, Alexia studied at Catholic University of Piacenza, Italy.  She majored in environmental management with a minor in agricultural science and technology. Starting in 2006, Alexia worked in Musha as executive secretary of the Youth Village, and was appointed in 2010 as director of the Technical School Saint Kizito (ETSK). She is a member of WAGGGS “World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts” and for nine years was commissioner general of the Association of Rwandan Guides (AGR), head of the training team, and promoter of Program 12+ on reproductive health in 30 districts in Rwanda funded by DFID & NIKE FOUNDATION. Alexia is also Vice-president of the association of private technical schools (TEVSA), which is the voice of girls and young women against violence. Alexia is thrilled to be part of new Committee and will be the person most responsible for implementing all new initiatives.

SueSUE SAWYER: Sue is a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder CO, with majors in sociology and psychology.  She worked as a real estate broker and investor before serving as Vice President of both Jay Medical and RIK Medical. She and her husband Rick Jay, have been residing in Italy since 2002 and together have three children and six grandchildren.  Sue hopes to share her organization skills with the ETSK school and staff.