One Child’s Resilience in the Face of Adversity
You might remember Joseph* because he shared part of his story about inclusive education earlier this year. He was born with a disability in one of his legs. Though he initially struggled, his parents and teachers, armed with Wellspring training, were able to support him. Joseph started to thrive. He started to make friends. He even began to play football and volleyball.
Then COVID-19 swept through Rwanda. Lockdowns and school closures became the norm, much like the rest of the world. Rwanda’s most recent lockdown was in July 2021. Everyone finds lockdowns difficult. Having already overcome so much, what was it like for a child like Joseph to weather this storm?
In the first round of lockdowns, Joseph was sad when he realized that he wouldn’t be able to go to school. Rwandan schools used the radio to deliver lessons to students across the country. At first, Joseph struggled. He didn’t know the teachers who were teaching him. He had never seen them and couldn’t see them face-to-face. Some of them spoke too quickly and it was hard to understand them. Joseph missed his classroom. He missed sitting at his desk.
At one point, he lost hope that school would ever reopen. But Joseph’s parents encouraged him to follow the radio lessons. They gave him the radio to study and his older siblings helped him understand what he was learning. His parents also made learning a priority by giving him enough time during the day to follow his studies. Joseph shared that through it all, and even today, he leans into prayer when things get hard. “I love spending time praying to God,” he says.
Rwanda entered another lockdown this past summer. This time, he wasn’t afraid. “I was determined and hopeful to find peace in the midst of what was happening. I continued to remind myself how important it is for me to complete my studies on time. I am determined to be a doctor—that’s what matters to me.”
Joseph knows that many of his classmates did not return to school when it reopened. But that wasn’t an option for Joseph. During that first school closure, Joseph realized that he actually enjoyed learning. “I chose to return to school because I knew school would help me reach my dreams of being a doctor in the future,” he shared. “I [am] determined to continue my studies no matter the circumstances.”
Joseph started in P6 this September—it’s his first year at secondary school and he loves it. He has supportive parents and siblings, encouraging teachers, great friends, and a community that cares for him. Joseph is a force in his own right.
But it is the donations from supporters like you that helped create a supportive community that ensured Joseph did not give up. When you invest in the educational ecosystem of a school community—in parents, teachers, and school leaders—children thrive. We can’t do it without you.
Please give a gift to help change the lives of children like Joseph. You can raise up the next generation of Rwandans and Ugandans with your generosity.
Wellspring is registered as a charitable organization in Canada (#88633 4408 RR0001). Tax receipts are issued at year-end for donations of $20 or more.
Financial Policy: All monies receipted by The Wellspring Foundation for Education are disbursed according to the policies of the society for the general charitable intent of the organization.