Your Impact in Rwanda

Children in Rwanda are facing significant challenges during this ongoing pandemic. With schools having been closed since March and timelines for reopening still uncertain, there is great concern about the impact on children’s learning and their wellbeing, with school feeding programs closed and many children being left alone while parents work.

It hits close to home when I realize that the kids I met at Kirerema Primary School (pictured) just a few years ago are now facing these issues on a daily basis. At the time, I had no idea how significant it would be for me to step through one of their classroom doors. It was my first experience of seeing so many kids crammed together at desks in a dimly lit room, craning their necks and straining their eyes to see the chalkboard at the front. There was one poster dangling by a nail at the back of the classroom. The question struck me: How can children learn in conditions like this?

When I consider the resources available for my niece and nephews here in Canada, the contrast moves me to tears. Each child in Rwanda is valuable and precious, and each child deserves to receive a quality education just as much as the children in my life do. They deserve safe, spacious, positive, inclusive, bright, and hope-filled learning years. 

2017-02-16, Kirerema, Student, Western Province

Thanks to Wellspring’s training in Kirerema Primary—and the other 74 primary schools in Rubavu district—thousands of children have now been set on this hopeful trajectory. Since our School Development Program was launched in Rubavu, school leaders, teachers, district leaders, parents, and even finance officers have been empowered through this training to create learning environments in which children are cared for, nurtured, and equipped to fulfill their incredible potential. Teachers are realizing the value of positive behavioural management and are implementing these strategies in ways that encourage and build trust among students. Parents have come together to build new classrooms, giving children more space to be able to focus on their lessons. Leaders are creating a culture where every voice matters, and where quality education is actively pursued.

The change that is being experienced in these schools is sustainable because the change is taking place in people. Yet, the challenge of this COVID-19 season is very real. These same children are now waiting. They’re waiting to learn again, they’re waiting for schools to be safe and healthy enough to return to, they’re waiting for a pandemic to be contained.

But these children are not waiting for Wellspring. Our team of trainers has been present and active throughout this crisis. Through workbooks, phone calls, virtual coaching, and (more recently) in-person one-on-one sessions, they have supported teachers, leaders, and parents. They have helped them navigate their unique roles in the midst of uncertain times, while also helping prepare for the day when schools do reopen.

I’m so proud of our team in Rwanda. They are discerning the times and responding to the unique needs of the people they serve with passion, creativity, and excellence.

Through your investment in the work of Wellspring, you are responding to this uncertain season with generosity, energy, and hope. Together, we can get through this.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all your efforts. As you participate in this year’s Lake2Lake, may you move forward in strength and joy!

Kristie Voth
Lake2Lake Coordinator
The Wellspring Foundation for Education