Since becoming registered nationally in Rwanda on 15 July 2015 our U.S. based 501c3 no longer is limited to work only through other organizations to implement our child Education and Health programs but we can now intervene in these areas with more beneficiaries throughout this beautiful country in both urban and rural geographies. Nationally registered status also allows us to partner with like-minded NGOs in country whose mission and values align with ours to impact a larger number of children.
Friends of IPEA School of Rwanda is a local Rwanda NGO that has a school in the Base Sector, just 1 hour by car north of Kigali City, the capital of Rwanda. They provide education for 60 children under the age of 7 in a sector that is surrounded by 3 areas that does not have a Nursery School (or Pre-K and Kindergarten as we know it in the U.S.). The children are divided into 2 classrooms, those that are ages 4 and under and then the 5 and 6 year olds. They have 2 teachers and the children are taught all in English. Every day the children are dropped off around 7A, they eat a breakfast that is provided by their own family and then they progress through the lessons until around noon learning everything from personal hygiene to their ABCs. Since the program does not currently have funding for food, the children are picked up around lunch to go home for the day. Most of these kids would not be afforded the opportunity to go to school if not for the Friends on IPEA School of Rwanda.
|The second bridge to get to the school. This was recently built by the government, previously the children would have to go the long way around to get to the school!|
We pulled up after crossing 2 bridges, down a narrow dirt road barely wide enough to fit a car and children came running out of a building. Towards the left we see that workers are busy making bricks that will one day become the foundation of a Vocational Center for the community. As we enter the center we see children sitting quietly at their desks only to be greeted with (once we enter through the classroom doors) singing and smiles, “Welcome welcome we are happy for beautiful YOOOOUUU?” and then a version of their “ABCs” followed by “Head, shoulders, knees and toes!” A lasting impression to all on the visit that day.
|Always curious as to what the "Muzungus" are up to! The younger classroom of children.|
A familiar site for sure as we remember back to 2009 when Dan and I first traveled to Rwanda and saw those smiling faces of the children at the Learning Center and then again in 2010 when Hope Shines welcomed the children at an orphanage called Peace Village and SINAPISI into Hope Shines summer camps. The children of Rwanda have so much promise and “Hope” in their eyes…
Leaving the busy hustle of Kigali reminds us of ALL the children in Rwanda that are in need of education. Education in the form of personal hygiene and health as so many are dirty and dusty. Education in English as the country moves more and more away from French. Education to stay in school and have a plan for the future whether it is in a vocational training program, at University, or a technical program; planning for the future is essential.
Hope Shines is in a period of growth and with growth comes need, a need for additional funding. We would LOVE to include and welcome these Nursery School children into our Hope Shines Summer Program, as we know they are successful in helping change children for a brighter future. However, we will be taking on additional beneficiaries in the coming months and have the challenge of funding school fees, uniforms, school supplies and health insurance for our new additions to Hope Shines. This growth is both exciting and somewhat unknown as to exactly what the future brings since there is always a financial piece to growth and there in lies the uncertainty.
So as I sit here in Rwanda as the Summer Camp Director, Medical Consultant and Volunteer Coordinator for the Hope Shines 2015 Summer Program. I would like to ask you to support something that I have been a apart of since 2009 and more importantly I ask YOU to join me in thanking our Executive Director and In-Country Manager for ALL of their self-less and often “free” work in turning Hope Shines into a nationally registered organization. It was always in my vision of how great Hope Shines can be and now it is actually becoming a reality and our footing is stronger now to help us achieve our mission!
If you are interested in making a donation, please visit our website to donate today! Every donation counts no matter how big or small, one-time or recurring. Be a part of a small group of people making a BIG impact! www.hopeshines.org
|The countryside and the area surrounding the school in Base Sector.|