A Promising Future for Claudine*
Marie Rose is a primary school teacher in Rwanda and a champion for gender equity in her school and local community. She advocates for girls’ education and goes to great lengths to ensure girls are not only present but actively engaged in her classroom. She knows the power of education in securing a promising future for girls.
But surprisingly, Marie Rose’s passionate advocacy for girls is a recent development due largely to the influence of her colleague and peer leader Francine, who you may remember from this story.
Last year, Wellspring launched a Gender-Responsive Classrooms pilot program that trains teachers to combat negative stereotypes and empower girls in their learning. Though Marie Rose never attended our gender training, Francine did. She applied her learning in her class, and passed along new skills to other teachers—like Marie Rose—ensuring that true transformation ripples across every classroom at her school.
Through peer-learning, Marie Rose has been empowered with the mindset and equipped with the tools to address gender bias in her classroom. Our team recently had the chance to connect with Marie Rose to hear about her advocacy for a particular girl in her class, the impact it’s had on her family, and the promising future she now has. This is what she shared.
Advocating for Girls’ Education
“My name is Marie Rose, and I teach in Primary [grade] 3. In my class last year, I had two siblings, Daniel* and Claudine*, in my class. Claudine was a few years older than her brother and the other students. This was because her start to school was delayed, and she did not regularly attend class. In fact, she had to repeat P3 last year.
I learned this was because their mother forbid Claudine from coming to school, so she was frequently absent from class. I approached Daniel and asked him why his sister was absent. He told me that Claudine is kept home by her mother, who tells her to do all the household chores like cooking, washing the dishes, cleaning, fetching water, and looking after her younger siblings. When I inquired, I learned that their mother did this due to her dated mindset that believes girls should not go to school because, naturally, girls are meant to do housework.
I am not directly trained by Wellspring, but I have had opportunities to participate in teachers’ peer learning activities in my school. My colleagues, who have been trained in Wellspring’s Gender-Responsive Classrooms module, shared with us the rights and responsibilities of boys and girls. After learning from them, I started to teach children in my class about gender equity.
A Change of Heart
Having understood that both boys and girls have the same rights and responsibilities, Daniel asked his mother to allow Claudine to return to school. He was so determined to save her that he even told their mother that, if she makes her miss school, he will also stay home and help her do the housework. He taught her that boys and girls are equal and should both go to school. And because of him, his mother changed her mind and let Claudine return to school! Today, she attends school regularly and follows well in her P4 classroom.
I can admit that Wellspring training and the support you provide to teachers has greatly impacted our school. It is unbelievable how it started with the teachers who received training directly from Wellspring trainers, who in turn came and trained us during in-school peer learning. From there, I went to my class and put into practice what they had taught me, and it yielded positive results and made the mother of the two children change her mindset. Claudine now has a promising future, one that is only possible because of this training. Thank you very much!”
A Promising Future
This is the beauty of Wellspring’s model of sustainability played out in EP Gatsata, just one school of the 182 we partner with! When teachers like Francine put the training into practice in their classrooms and empower their fellow teachers like Marie Rose, the impact ripples beyond one classroom through the entire school, into the community, and families like Daniel and Claudine’s.
Thanks to the advocacy of her school community and brother, Claudine now has a promising future as she’s equipped with an inclusive, quality education—one that nurtures her heart and mind. While we don’t know what the future holds for Claudine, we do know that her future is bright!
Will you join us in seeing more girls like Claudine access the inclusive, quality education they deserve?
*Names are pseudonyms.