Kanyundo Primary is a place that stands out against its surroundings. With a backdrop of hilly tea plantations and rural dirt roads, the well-kept compound almost looks out of place. A basketball court and small playground give kids a place to play and get out their energy so they can pay better attention in class. The grass fields don’t have a speck of litter on them and small handwashing stations sit outside classrooms, promoting hygiene amongst the school population. Kanyundo Primary stands out because the community has invested. Local parents want this school to provide an education worthy of their children. And, in return, the school is pouring back into the community.
Since Wellspring began our training a year ago, Kanyundo Primary has dramatically improved. Classrooms here were previously full of distrust and fear. Kids were beaten for showing up a few minutes late or getting a math question wrong. Now, classrooms are welcoming and respectful places. The teachers use love and encouragement to promote learning amongst their students. Children used to dread school but now they are eager to learn. This schoolwide transformation is stemming from a leader who has adopted a servant heart.
“I’m not ashamed to testify that I have been transformed by Wellspring. Wellspring has transformed me and now, the school is being transformed too.” – Félicienne
Instead of leading from a lofty, isolated position, Félicienne, the Head Teacher, has eagerly taken to Wellspring’s trainings and now leads the school by example. When you see her around the schoolyard, she is talking with teachers and laughing with students. No longer is she unapproachable. Now, she adopts a humble attitude and speaks with great humility about the success of the school of recent national exams. When she shares her dream for the Kanyundo Primary’s future, her eyes light up and her hands become more animated.
“My dream is to see a 100% transition rate at our school for students moving from primary to secondary. But as a foundation, I want to ensure that we are a school based on values. This school is going to be a place where community members can come to learn values from us. When they visit, they will notice a difference. They will know that Wellspring has come to this school.”
Her passion for Kanyundo Primary is evident not just in her words, but also her actions. Félicienne has been leading groups of teachers and students out into the community to engage with families who pulled their children out of school. After seeing her do this a few times, students at the school felt moved to start a club, which they called “A Response to a Child”. This club provides a framework for the students to do community outreach. They are seeking out their peers who have dropped out of school and are bringing them back to the classroom. The results of this initiative have been astounding. Kanyundo Primary has created a class specifically for students who formerly dropped out so they can encourage and support one another through issues in their home life and work together to make up for the time they missed. The students in this class recently began learning how to write and they are eager to continue moving forward in their education.
Kanyundo Primary is unrecognizable from the school it was a year ago, but there is still work to be done. Other schools in the sector are so hungry for the same transformation that Kanyundo has experienced that they are sending their teachers to learn from multipliers (teachers who have received high-level training from Wellspring) here. This hunger is why Wellspring is committing to move into all 86 primary schools in the Rubavu district. We want to come alongside schools to help them overcome deep-set educational issues just like at Kanyundo Primary. But to do this, we need your help. Will you partner with us as we help improve education in the Rubavu district?