Humble Start at Rise to Shine School

A few years ago, a story of transformation began in the humblest of place—underneath a tall tree, sitting upon dry grass in a tiny village. It was here, in the dappled sunlight streaming between leaves, that Rise to Shine school held its first classes.

Upon returning to Rwanda from Burundi, her birth country, Beatrice Bamurange felt a calling from God. She travelled to the remote village of Rusheshe and found a community of people who were discouraged, but still willing to work hard to see a better future for their children. The kids had no access to quality education and most of them came from broken homes with parents who didn’t complete their own schooling, and thus didn’t understand the value of education for their children.

When she recalled this time in the community, Beatrice said, “I wanted to stand…for these children, but I didn’t know where to start and whom to speak to about this vision.”

Even though she felt unsure and unprepared, Beatrice knew that the call on her heart was from God. She needed to do something to give hope to the children of the village.

And so Rise to Shine school was born.

Beatrice began Rise to Shine under a tree in the village, offering classes to anyone who wanted to attend. As word spread, more and more children began to join them. In 2011, Beatrice and another teacher moved the school into a small house, hoping to accommodate all of their new students. Still the demand for the school quickly outgrew the small two room house and they had to split into two shifts. Nursey children came in the morning and Primary in the afternoon.

As they continued to grow in size, the community saw the value of Beatrice’s teachings. The future of hope they had dreamed of for their children was beginning to be realized. Eager to seize this opportunity for their children, the parents banded together. Working with Beatrice, the community raised the funds to purchase land for the school and build new classroom blocks. In 2014, Rise to Shine took ownership of their new home.

But finally having their own space to grow brought new challenges for the school. Beatrice felt she needed support and training in order to properly lead the school in its phase of growth. In 2015, a friend introduced Beatrice to Wellspring’s Abundant Leadership Institute (ALI). Here, she found an answer to a prayer.

“I found a learning environment that was safe and felt connected with everyone, despite our different experiences and cultures. [ALI] encouraged me and introduced the ‘Lead Like Jesus’ model, which has helped shape my life and also the lives of those I work alongside. We have adopted and modelled this concept in our school and the community.”

Beatrice began using the principles she learned through ALI, such as self-leadership and modelling Jesus as an example in her daily life as a leader. Working with the community and teachers, she crafted a vision and values for the school. These are now displayed prominently throughout the school and village, reminding everyone to be intentional about their actions.

Wellspring’s Abundant Leadership Institute empowered Beatrice to lead her school as a servant leader. She has the skills to serve and lead others like Jesus. Using techniques learned through ALI, Beatrice has built trust and togetherness between staff and leadership in the school, as well as between the school and the wider community. Teachers and community leaders have even begun to adopt the ‘Lead Like Jesus’ model through Beatrice’s teachings and examples. Love and togetherness is promoted throughout the community. The village is now unrecognizable from the discouraged group of people that Beatrice came across when she first arrived.

And through it all, the children have benefited. They are reaping the rewards of having a servant leader at the helm of the school. Not only are they seeing a model example of the type of leaders they should become, but they are also benefiting from having teachers who truly care for them and community who want to see them succeed. This year, eleven students are sitting Rise to Shine’s first national exams. They have the whole school and community rooting for them.

Beatrice has since graduated from our Abundant Leadership Institute. With her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, Beatrice finished near the top of our pioneer class. The tiny school that began between the roots of a tree has bloomed into something truly brilliant, and is empowering the children from the village for a future that will see them fulfill their God-given potential.

Wellspring’s Abundant Leadership Institute works with leaders in education who have a heart for transforming their communities. We empower them with the skills to spread their vision to others and to lead by example. You can be a part of their journey too! By partnering with Wellspring, you can help us empower passionate leaders like Beatrice to become models for servant leadership in Rwanda. Will you join with us today?