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Teachers Take Action To Become Agents Of Change

As the sun rises over the mountainous horizon, silhouettes of students can be traced against the rising sun as they walk to school from every direction.

It’s 6a.m. and the morning bell won’t ring for almost two hours, but a handful of teachers gather in a class full of students to offer them extra help from 6-7a.m., Monday-Friday.

Rwankuba Primary School was recently constructed and opened. Located in a poorly serviced farming community, it was built in an effort to provide education to students who previously didn’t have access to a school because of their rural location.

When the school opened its doors, the student demographic surprised teachers. Many of the students starting school for the first time were between 12-15 years old. While most P.1 teachers struggle to teach basic behavioral skills to their new students, Rwankuba’s teachers were faced with overwhelming challenges. Many students were addicted to drugs and alcohol, female students were becoming pregnant or leaving school to make money in prostitution and many students wanted to quit school.

Our quality education trainers are training five of the nine teachers at Rwankuba. As they’ve learned how to implement values into their daily lessons and realized the worth of each student, they collectively decided to help these students reach their potential rather than just harshly punishing them.

The head teacher, who says she used to lead like a dictator, says that it’s the unity within the teachers that makes them effective agents for transformation.

“When you are at the school you see the teachers are like a family. It’s a small family, but they all have good relationships,” she says.

When teachers realized that students who were dealing with addictions were dropping out of school to look for jobs and many female students were becoming pregnant, they decided to take action.

With help from parents, teachers decided to start a bi-weekly after school program for students dealing with addictions. Through dramas, skits and books, students are learning about the effects of drugs and gaining support as they seek to break free from addictions in a non-judgmental environment.

Since the program’s initiation, along with extra help in the mornings, teachers have seen a significant drop in student absenteeism and dropouts. In the last year, there have been fewer pregnancies and many students who previously left school to seek employment have returned in pursuit of education.

“We see the importance of each student and we know we can help them succeed at school and in life,” says the head teacher.

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