In Rwanda, one quarter of the population are children of primary school age. These children are seeking an education in a dysfunctional system. Wellspring exists to be part of the change that sees this system move from dysfunctional to exceptional.
An exciting new chapter is beginning in Wellspring’s story. This year, as our friends from Fill in the Blank Studios joined us for the fifth time in Rwanda, they chronicled their experience so you could walk alongside them as they learned more about Wellspring’s new project in Rubavu.
Before we headed out to Rwanda’s western province to learn about our expansion, we made a quick stop in some local Gasabo schools so the film crew could see the change that has occurred here. Gasabo is now the number one performing school district in the country, but six years ago, just before we began our training, the district looked very different than it does today.
Back in 2011, students in Gasabo were suffering from a number of educational problems beyond their control. Leaders weren’t equipped to lead their schools properly. Teachers were not receiving adequate training and relied on physical punishment to maintain control in chaotic classrooms. Classrooms were overcrowded, which meant that teachers couldn’t properly assess each child’s learning. These issues combined to create an environment where receiving a quality education was nearly impossible.
Now, after six years of working with Wellspring trainers, schools in Gasabo are almost unrecognizable. Classrooms are no longer a place of fear, but one of respect and learning. Teachers are encouraging students, and leaders are helping schools move forward with servant hearts. Each child is now receiving an education that matches their potential and dreams.
Seeing the growth that Gasabo schools have experienced under our program helped the film crew see the potential for poor-performing schools in Rubavu. Issues such as overcrowded classrooms, uninterested leaders, and poorly trained teachers are surmountable. The barriers to a quality education that the children are facing in Rubavu can be removed, just as they were removed in the Gasabo district. A future of hope and opportunity is possible for all children across Rwanda, no matter where they live and no matter their circumstances. It is Wellspring’s vision to help turn that possibility into a reality.
In Part 1 of our journey we stopped in the Gasabo district to see how schools have transformed under Wellspring’s program.
As our friends at Fill in the Blank Studios continued their journey with us, we travelled up to Rubavu, a district in Rwanda’s Western Province, to learn about Wellspring’s expansion into this region. Rubavu is a rural and agricultural district that stretches along the banks of Lake Kivu and borders the Democratic Republic of Congo. Like anywhere else in the world, kids laugh and play here. They have hopes and dreams for their future, but right now, deep-set issues in the region mean that their circumstances are against them.
Poverty dominates here, and this is dictating the priority of daily life and overwhelming the education system. We saw schools with overcrowded classrooms, untrained teachers, physical punishment, and girls being consistently exploited and overlooked in favour of boys to receive an education.
But Wellspring has a vision, and we know that a quality education is key to this region moving forward. We want to be part of the change that sees this system improve and these issues removed. These children deserve an education that matches their hopes and dreams for a future where they can break the cycle of poverty that has been thrust upon them.
And we’ve already begun.
In 2015, Wellspring started a pilot project in four primary schools in Rubavu, as well as sixteen schools in other districts. After seeing the initial success in these four schools, the Mayor of Rubavu reached out, asking us to become the main education partner in all eighty-six primary schools in Rubavu. We’re eager to help, but this is no small undertaking. Helping education in this region would nearly triple the scope of our work. But, as we saw through the transformation in Gasabo, the results are worth it.
After a year on our program, the four initial schools in Rubavu have already seen dramatic improvement. Teachers are treating students with respect and encouragement, classrooms are a place of engagement, and parents are even becoming involved in the school community to ensure their children are receiving the best education possible.
We want to see this success grow and expand to all schools in Rubavu, and to do that we need your help. Will you partner with us as we expand our program to impact eighty-six new schools and help bring a future of hope to 91,500 new students through a quality education?