Quality Education: For Every Child
At Wellspring, we pursue justice, worth, and dignity for every child through the provision of quality education in Africa. The Global Partnership for Education argues that “Education is an inalienable right of every human being. It promises to free all citizens from the shackles of ignorance, poverty and disempowerment, and endow them with the capacity to be architects of their own destiny, and catalysts of entrepreneurship, innovation and global citizenship” and we couldn’t agree more.
We believe that every child deserves the love, respect, dignity, and empowerment that God desires for them. Every child has the right to quality education. Each child deserves the opportunity to learn, discover, grow, and thrive.
But when challenges to quality education are rampant—due to ill-equipped teachers, overcrowded classrooms, chronic dropout, gender barriers, or no accommodations for students with disabilities—children suffer.
In our partnership with schools across Rwanda, we learn about the challenges children face to inclusive equitable education. We seek to bridge the gap and help schools successfully accommodate students with learning disabilities.
Barriers to education such as discrimination, stigma, inadequate facilities, and poorly trained teachers, consistently exclude students with disabilities from classrooms. But disability is not an inability. Like all children, children with disabilities have ambitions and dreams for their future. They are just as worthy of quality education to develop their skills and realize their full potential.
What education needs is a shift—a drastic change in how students learn in the classroom. What education needs is a move towards inclusive education—education for all.
It is our desire to reach the most vulnerable children by working together to address barriers to quality education that put many children at a disadvantage—whether as a result of gender inequality, economic poverty, special educational needs, physical disability, language, or other barriers. All of Wellsprings’ programs and interventions therefore prioritize inclusion as we seek to bring a sense of justice, worth, and dignity to all with whom we engage.
When we talk of inclusive education, we are talking about changes in attitudes, behaviours, teaching methods, curricula, and environment to meet the needs of all children. All children deserve a quality education that dignifies them and meets their specific needs be it through wheelchair ramps, preferential seating, or extra support from teachers.
It is a commitment to providing methods to support children with different speeds of learning and empowering the child’s potential in a holistic way that is physical, linguistic, social, cognitive and sensory. It is about changing the education system to suit all children. It’s about making sure that every child in the school feels safe, welcomed, and like they belong.
Inclusive education is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programs, and activities so that all students learn and participate together. It ensures access to quality education for all students by meeting their diverse needs in a way that is responsive and respectful.
In the wise words of one of our Quality Education trainers, Aimable, “Inclusive education is about breaking the barriers that hinder a child from participating in learning.”
Our new strategic plan, Vision 2024: For Every Child, commits to deepen our advocacy of quality education through focused efforts on increasing awareness among teachers, leaders, and parents of the barriers faced by children with disabilities.
We have made inclusion a cross-cutting theme in our program activities. We try to ensure that our trainers and partners (teachers, school leaders, and parents) receive teaching and leadership practices needed to take care of the needs of all the learners, with a focus on those with special needs that could go unnoticed or get lost in those of the majority.
All training modules focus on an approach to teaching and learning that is child-centered. The first place to start is with attitude and beliefs about children, about learning, and about the role of the teacher. We believe that every child can learn if they are given appropriate support. This can represent a significant shift in a teacher’s beliefs about children and their potential, and opens up teachers to see that while each child has individual learning needs, they all equally deserve attention and care.
We look to the future and realize we have our work cut out for us. We will fight for the rights of every child to break these barriers and ensure that every child access an education that treats them with value and justice.
We constantly seek to ensure that every student in Rwanda has access to a quality education, one that treats them with dignity and worth, and equips them with the tools, knowledge, character and skills to achieve their God-given potential.
When we say quality education for every child, we mean it. Every child. No matter what.
So, we won’t stop until every student, with or without a learning disability, accesses the dignity and opportunity that a life-giving and life-changing quality education provides. Will you join us in this work?