[two_third]Recently two of our staff members, Stéphane and Vedaste, travelled to a rural community two and a half hours north of Kigali. They were representatives for a group Wellspring chairs called, the Rwandan Education NGO Coordination Platform (RENCP).

The purpose of the visit was to join with other RENCP members and organizations to observe how parents are fostering a culture of literacy and reading in their children.

With sprawling hills and lush green fields providing a backdrop, parents and community members welcomed the visitors with song and dance as they prepared for the meeting.

“When we opened the discussion, I was amazed to see that many people at the meeting were farmers with no formal education; they are the disadvantaged people of society. It was astonishing to see how these people had a real passion to see a reading culture established,” shared Stéphane.

In past years, only wives would attend such meetings, but on this occasion couples attended together.

“They were really happy and engaging. What surprised me the most was to see how they were dealing with matters from their inner hearts,” said Vedsate.

Vedaste also said that although the conversation about academics and literacy was remarkable, it was the emphasis placed on the family unit that was profound.

“It’s not only about developing intellectually, but also developing healthy family relationships. Families are learning how to relate with one another. It wasn’t about parents forcing their children to read, but it was about family rehabilitation and restoration. Quality education and a love for learning emerge from healthy homes.”

Parents shared their innovative ideas for engaging their children in learning as a means of providing fun and education outlets for their children. Most impressive was a makeshift “television” designed by one of the parents. Using flipbook animation, children learned how to draw and associate words with pictures in a creative way.

“It was an amazing day to see parents engaged and to see people of all levels, from parents to sector leaders, working in unity,” said Vedaste. ”In Rwanda, we haven’t had a culture of reading, but that is beginning to change!”

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“It was astonishing to see how these people had a real passion to see a reading culture established.”

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