2021 Review: The Year of Resilience
With 2022 in full swing, we’re reflecting on all we accomplished in 2021 despite another year marked by uncertainty and change—all thanks to your faithful partnership! Take a trip down memory lane with us as we look back with gratitude for the many ways God blessed our team and work in this 2021 review.
Resilience Despite All Odds
While lockdowns were the challenge of 2020, 2021 brought gathering restrictions and uncertainty about how we could practically and safely deliver our programs. Nonetheless, trainers and school communities remained hopeful and determined to keep quality education at the forefront. We creatively adapted training delivery methods to comply with restrictions and testing requirements while continuing our 1:1 mentoring with all program participants. Our trainers and teachers put great emphasis on mental health and well-being and re-teaching key subject content in classrooms and workshops. Parents ensured that vulnerable children, like girls, those in child-headed households, those with disabilities, and the very poor and marginalized continued their learning.
Meeting the Tangible Needs of School Communities
In the aftermath of the Nyiragongo volcanic eruptions and earthquakes this past May, the Wellspring team was quick to support some of the 400,000 displaced Congolese and Rwandan families. Our team provided food, hygiene products, and sleeping gear, along with coaching for school and community leaders as they respond to the needs of their community.
Equipping New Teachers and Schools
In partnership with the Rwandan Education Board and support from 3 education sector partners, our trainers lead the creation of a clear and simple workbook for over 11,000 newly recruited and unqualified teachers as they begin leading the classroom. Our team also had the privilege of supporting school leadership and parent representatives from 24 new Gasabo schools to empower parents in their role and help them build working relationships with the leadership of their local school to work together toward providing quality education. The future is bright for these new schools, parents, and teachers, along with the many students they will serve.
Some Honourable Mentions
At the end of October, our team received an award for Wellspring’s support to Rubavu District during Covid and in the aftermath of the Nyiragongo eruption by the District Executive Secretary. Days later, the Network of International NGO’s nominated and invited Wellspring to become one of their five Executive Committee members! NINGO represents the voices of over 80 organizations, and we were chosen to be one of the organizations that provides leadership to this group. We’re humbled and excited to play a key role in this network.
Looking Ahead to 2022
Building on the theme of inclusive education from our 2021 Gala, we’re diving deeper into equity and inclusion with specific training to help teachers combat gender bias, identify the specific learning needs of girls, and develop strategies to make sure they succeed in their learning. This pilot project has the potential to change the lives of girls across the nation by ensuring every girl is learning and empowered in her classroom.
Research shows that early childhood education is essential for later school success. We will deepen our support for the newly hired 300 Early Childhood Education teachers in Rubavu District. This huge step will ensure that the youngest children no longer rely on volunteer teachers, but instead access an engaging play-based curriculum that will help build a strong learning foundation for the years ahead.
To adapt to the new normal while working with resources available to communities, we’re launching a pilot project that blends digital learning and face-to-face coaching from Wellspring trainers to support teachers, leaders, and parents. This is a key strategy to achieve our vision and deepen our impact beyond one district to the entire nation and beyond.
2021 marked the humble beginnings of an emerging partnership with Kuwasha Foundation and the Rakai School Development Project (SDP). With key learnings from our SDP successes in Gasabo and Rubavu, we’re excited to partner with Kuwasha in this pilot project to develop a culturally contextualized school improvement program. Its ultimate outcome is improved quality education for 7500 primary school students—especially girls—in 15 schools in the Rakai District of Uganda. Although this program faced delays due to restrictions and challenges, we look forward to growth and momentum in 2022.
If you’re interested in financially partnering with us as we launch these exciting new projects and programs, head here: thewellspringfoundation.org/give/
What a year it’s been! None of this would have been possible without our incredible partner community in North America. Thank you for coming alongside Wellspring and the people of Rwanda as we try to come back stronger than ever and work together towards a future where every child has access to a quality education, no matter the circumstance. We’re so excited for what we’ll accomplish together in 2022!