One of the joys of our work is seeing transformation happen in all lives—from parents to leaders, teachers to students, and even lives beyond those of whom we directly work. When one person experiences transformation in the way they act and see the world, their new attitude has ripple effects on everyone they encounter. They spread their light to others.
And that’s exactly what happened—and is still happening—with Teacher Kanyamibwa at Kacyiru I Primary.
When Wellspring first began working with Kacyiru I Primary, our trainers were unwelcome in the school. Teachers regularly demonstrated how little they cared for their students. They didn’t lesson plan, used physical punishment in their classrooms, and sometimes wouldn’t even show up to teach. They were unwilling to change their ways, which made them hostile to our trainers. Teacher Kanyamibwa was no different. When Wellspring staff arrived to offer training and support, Kanyamibwa sought them out to discourage them from returning. He did not want to put any effort into his work.
But our trainers were not discouraged.
Whenever Kanyamibwa tried to drive them out of the school, they took the opportunity to share how values-based techniques, such as positive behavioural management, can drastically improve a classroom. They planted the seed of transformation in his mind. Little by little, these interactions became the time for Kanyamibwa to learn and change his teaching practices. Each of these interactions watered the seed a little more.
Last year, during a Wellspring workshop, a group of teachers began questioning the merit of a quality education. They wanted to know why they should pour more effort into their work and why the kids of today deserve a better education than the one the teachers themselves received in their childhood. Instead of egging the teachers on, Kanyamibwa immediately supported our trainers. They explained that the role of teachers is to educate the next generation, to equip the students for future success. Kanyamibwa’s support not only of the trainers, but of these ideas, came in stark contrast to his earlier actions.
Kanyamibwa is a transformed teacher.
With help from our Wellspring trainers, Kanyamibwa learned how to provide his students with a quality education. Today, locally made teaching aids line the wall of his classroom. His students work together in groups to grasp lesson concepts with deeper clarity. Kanyambiwa even establishes classroom rules at the start of each lesson to manage the students with positive behavioural techniques instead of physical punishment. Kanyamibwa has expressed his gratitude to Wellspring for helping him become a teacher who cares for students and he is demonstrating great commitment to empowering the future generation with a quality education.
But that’s not all.
Other teachers at the school saw that Kanyamibwa, the teacher who had been the most hostile towards Wellspring, had wholeheartedly embraced our techniques. They saw his joy in teaching and how much his students now loved their lessons and their teacher. They realized they could experience this transformation too and could have a lasting impact educating the next generation. Now, many more teachers are embracing Wellspring’s techniques. Kanyambiwa, in expressing that Wellspring helped him become a teacher who cares for students and empowers the future generation with a quality education, has brought transformation to the other teachers at the school as well.
Kanyamibwa’s story illustrates that persistence is more important than force. Sustainable change does not happen overnight. Instead, it is the product of continued effort. This is why Wellspring is committed to continuing to support schools until they can sustainably provide quality education to all of their students. But we can’t do this alone. Your partnership is key as we seek to work with schools in Rwanda. Will you partner with us on this journey and be part of Rwanda’s education story?