Thank you so much, as always, for your support of our Ignite48 program and for visiting this page to learn more about the people and the work you are supporting!
Please click on the links (or photos) below to hear more from Wellspring’s Training Team:
Messages of Thanks
“Thank you very much for your kind heart. We really appreciate your support to promote quality education in Rwandan schools. May God bless you abundantly.” – Aimable
“I thank you very much for your heart to love and help children in Rwanda by your prayers and support. As we work together, we can achieve more and transform lives as ‘salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13a). And indeed results are visible and tangible. May His Name be glorified and may He reward each one of you for all you lovingly do.” – Rachel
“It is a pleasure to work alongside caring and self-sacrificing people who pray for the work and are ready to support the development of the future generation in Rwanda. Thank you for having chosen to support Wellspring’s vision. May God bless you.” – Jean Claude
“Thank you for all the generosity you have always shown, that has made it possible to empower Rwanda’s new generation. God bless you abundantly.“ – Juliet
“Please come and visit us and see what we have been doing, because you will witness with your eyes and ears from the beneficiaries the transforming work of our God. Furthermore, we thank Wellspring partners from the bottom our hearts for the support they have been giving us for the success of this noble work.” – Ernest
“I would like to thank you all for your kind heart and all the support you have been providing for this work. May the Almighty God bless you!”
– Marie Jeanne
“Thank you for your support and all your endeavors as you continue to pray and provide for the work we do. You have been a real blessing to thousands of children here in Rwanda.” – Theo
“I am praising the Lord for He has sent you to help in the good work of empowering a new generation in a time when Rwanda needs it. Allow me to let you know that since I joined Wellspring three years ago, I have seen God adding success to success to us by enabling us to persevere even in situations that looked not very easy. You are doing an important job that you may underestimate but which, I believe, God will bless you for in this life and the life to come. Your contribution in causing positive change to Rwandan communities is of great importance! May you keep joining us as we surrender to God to use us in bringing about transformation! – Daniel
“I would like to thank all people who play role in what we do in one way or another. What you are doing is making great changes here in Rwanda. You are bringing hope, and lives of a big number of people are changing day after day. May God in heaven remember the great work you are doing to His least one here in Africa. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10.” – Vedaste
“I thank the Wellspring partners and ask you to continue your partnership. I am grateful for what you do for or with Wellspring. Finally I pray for you so that God could use you in your efforts to build a better world through education.” – Emmanuel
“I thank you so much for your prayers and support. I know God who knows you very well will bless you in this journey to serve Rwanda for its good future.” – Jeanne
“One message I have from my heart is to thank God for the people from North America for strong support, both financially and in prayer. I highly appreciate you!” – David
“We really thank you for lending us a supporting hand. God bless you.” – Beatrice
“Thank you so much for your great support, I am always grateful for your support. Blessings!” – Gilbert
“Just keep supporting Wellspring in its wonderful work in schools here in Rwanda. Visit us here and see what is doing in those schools and how it is impacting Rwandans. Thank you very much.” – Ladislas
“Something else I would like to say to Wellspring partners is a word of thanks for their support, both physical and spiritual; I appreciate your heart and love for our organization.” – Mary
Ten Highlights of 2015
One of the biggest highlights this year was the “Gasabo Dissemination Day” in April – a landmark event that brought together all stakeholders (teachers, leaders, parents, Sector Education Officers, representatives from the Rwanda Education Board, and Wellspring staff) to share and celebrate all that had been achieved since we began working together. We shared the results of our School Development Program (SDP), which showed how positive and sustainable transformation is taking place in these 49 Gasabo District Schools.
It was especially encouraging to hear different stakeholders enthusiastically share testimonies of how Wellspring’s training has impacted their school communities, and to see the tremendous ways in which change is taking place in the lives of the thousands of students they serve. These discussions were important too in increasing mutual understanding, and it was amazing to see people thinking together about the future of their children.
This event also marked the official end of the second phase of Wellspring’s School Development Program, and it was a pleasure to reward many teachers with certificates for completing this phase. This was an encouraging day for our team, and all who attended!
ENCOURAGING PEER LEARNING
Wellspring continues to empower teachers in their schools through peer sharing. From Feb-Jun 2015, our trainers went into different schools, encouraging both leaders and teachers to build a culture of peer learning in their schools. This is a key strategy that reinforces the implementation of quality education, and ensures that change is sustainable in the long-term. Many school leaders have really owned this program, and have made timetables to ensure that each teacher has the opportunity to plan a lesson, share it with other teachers, and receive constructive feedback for the future.
“Peer learning is reaping benefits, and there is now little difference between those who have been trained directly by Wellspring and those who have been trained by their peers.”
“I have been touched by the way multipliers and non-multipliers show an interest in learning from each other, and improving their style of teaching to assist every learner in their lesson.”
BUILDING TRUST & STRONG TEAMS
Wellspring organized a workshop for school leaders on building trust and strong teams. Leaders enjoyed this activity very much because it helped them to discuss the challenges to building successful teams in their context, and to work towards the betterment of their teams. They appreciated how it is important to work in teams where everybody is involved and participates equally. These events had a lot of significance to leaders because they allowed us to assess leaders and find where they needed to be built up. As a result, Head Teachers were more open to sharing with their deputies, and to developing stronger relationships.
SUPPORTING SCHOOL LEADERS
In order to support leaders and help them to progress well, we have assessed the progress of school leaders in four areas this year: (1) Creating strategic direction; (2) Leading teaching and learning; (3) Managing the school; and (4) working with the parent community. This assessment has helped leaders to improve many aspects of their leadership, and to know exactly what is needed to move their school towards becoming a model school. Each of the 49 schools we work in now has a vision and mission.
“We went to assess leaders to see if they had put into practice what they had learned, and we found that a big number of leaders have created a vision and mission for the school, they had started observing teachers’ lessons, had set an agreed code and culture for the school, and had improved their relationship with parents and the wider community.”
ENGAGING PARENT COMMUNITIES
“In the past year, I mostly worked with school communities using the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, which focuses on the gifts and opportunities that a community has, and on how to connect these in order to bring positive change to their children’s education. I have been working with the Community Involvement Trainers to help our schools communities to shift their mindsets from being clients to being citizens; not to be limited by their needs, but discover their assets and share their gifts with one another so as to achieve more. With this and much more we have experienced amazing stories in these Gasabo District schools.”
“This focus on ABCD was a total shift of thinking, both for those of us who were conducting trainings and for the people who were trained. To conduct ABCD in a community which had survived on donations for more than 15 years was not an easy thing, but we have seen many changes and we were amazed.”
LEARNING ABOUT DRAMA IN EDUCATION
“We had a team of students and their professor, Drew Kahn, visit from the University of Buffalo State in America. We spent a week learning drama in education, and it was an exciting moment. It was new in our lives to experience such kinds of learning to apply drama in all subjects. We enjoyed the drama – the professor was hard working, and he drove us in a crazy exercise!”
HOSTING THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION
In April 2015, we were blessed to host a visit by the Minister of Education, who wanted to see the successful innovation projects that were funded by the Innovation Fund for Education. He was impressed to see how the School Development Program had completely transformed the particular school he visited (Groupe Scolaire Kabuye) as a holistic approach that helps improve the school leadership, teaching and learning and community involvement in education. In addition, we were part of the Innovation Fair for Education, where we exhibited our daily activities and teaching aids that are efficient and effective to promote quality education.
CONTRIBUTING TO NEW CURRICULUM
“In June 2015, the big piece was participation in the workshop organized by Rwanda Education Board on the New Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) where we were helping in developing the training materials that the trainers of CBC would need to facilitate these workshops.”
“In May 2015, I was mainly involved in the Training of teacher trainers from The Baptist Church of Rwanda schools. This training was a result of the partnership Wellspring has with the Baptist Church, and it required intense training where we took the trainees into our Gasabo schools to see how Quality Education is now being implemented in their classes.”
ABUNDANT LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Wellspring’s Abundant Leadership Institute launched in early August 2015, and prior to the launch, Wellspring’s trainers had the opportunity to pilot the first training module, which is focused on the Foundations of Abundant Leadership – something which turned out to be a real highlight.
“Training I had about Abundant Leadership in Wellspring impacted me a lot. Through this course I learned that the fact of always feeling that you miss something, that you cannot do anything to improve your life, is a scarcity mentality. In fact, everyone has talent and strength which can be used to develop and improve their life. To move from a scarcity mentality to an abundant mentality is a journey which involves overcoming fear, stepping on challenges, and changing your way of thinking. Through using our assets and sharing information, people can be empowered. In abundance, I felt that I have to be good listener and humble in front of people whom I lead like Jesus Christ.”
What does Wellspring mean to us?
There is a teacher from one of the schools we work with who has demonstrated an extraordinary transformation in her teaching. This teacher testifies that Wellspring trainings have been of great help to her and her Primary 1 learners. As she had an overpopulated class (around 75), she trained her young learners in how they can work together to help one another read and write letters. She took slow learners and paired them with brighter ones, and for the very slow she used a variety of strategies. She could take a slow learner and assign him/her to a brighter student for a week for a specific purpose and follow them up closely. When this failed, she could change and assign this student to another one. She admits that this has yielded positive results, for by the end of the year almost all the pupils were able to read and write. Today, she is with those pupils in Primary 2 and they don’t have any problem with performance or behavior. Even when the teacher is not in class, they take books and learn on their own.
I have recently been encouraged by the transformation of one Senior Teacher at one of the schools that has joined our School Development Program (SDP) in the last two years. When Wellspring trainers came to this school for the first time, teacher Eugenie (a chemistry teacher in Senior II) was one of many Senior Teachers who looked down on the program, and sensitized other teachers to resist it. She refused to attend meetings and training, telling Wellspring’s trainers openly that she thought they were bringing nothing new to the school. However, very recently, Eugenie has started to change her attitude, and has started becoming more interested in effective teaching methods that engage all learners. She has even inquired from teacher multipliers (who have been trained directly by Wellspring) about how to incorporate specific positive values in lessons. A few weeks ago, she allowed our trainers and other teachers to observe her lesson in S2 and give her comments afterwards. I am one of those who observed the lesson. This teacher could identify strong areas of her lesson, and even some areas that needed improvement. For example, in relation to behaviour management, she said she was sorry to have been harsh to a student who misbehaved, and admitted that she had failed to apply positive rewards and sanctions in keeping discipline in her class. She humbly welcomed the constructive feedback from her fellow teachers and said that the comments from Wellspring’s Quality Education Trainers were very helpful to her. God has done it! He has changed her, and I feel proud to serve the Lord who transforms people to help them grow in doing a better job in empowering a new generation!
There are many stories of transformation that I have experienced, but let me share one story about a teacher who used to give us a hard time because we would find him drunk early in the morning whenever we went to his school. This teacher was modeling bad values to the learners – he could not teach good values to his students because he didn’t have them. He used to misbehave during meetings. During Wellspring’s program, this teacher learned values, and decided to change his life and demonstrate positive behavior in the community. He no longer comes to school drunk, he welcomes trainers to observe his lessons for improvement, and he has made teaching aids and spread them outside classrooms to help learners remember what they have learned. He has created dramas to be played by students showing the impact of Wellspring’s program to the whole school.
The Head Teacher of one Primary School has been really transformed in his leadership style. Before he went through Leadership and Management training, he was always absent, and his relationship with teachers and the parent community was very bad. He could not listen to the people he worked with, and he was very authoritative. This had negatively impacted the whole school. The school was very dirty, parents could not visit children at the school, or provide any support to the school. The performance was very poor; teachers were often sitting in the staff room without teaching while learners were alone in the classrooms doing nothing. Now he has changed positively, his relationship with the Parent Teacher Committees, teachers, and parent wide community has changed very positively and they work together. Now they have built a fence for the school together, and the school is one of the cleanest schools in Gasabo District. This has caused the Head Teacher, teachers, parents and students to be very happy and love their school, as they testified to us.
Nduba Groupe Scolaire is a school that had a time of stagnancy in the progress of quality education. The leadership played a key role in the state of the school. Leaders did not get on well with each other. There was no close collaboration among the staff and everyone displayed little interest in their responsibilities. Recently though, there has been some transfer in school head teachers, and Nduba got a new Head Teacher who had benefited from Wellspring’s School Development Program training. The new Head Teacher is committed to the program and he welcomed the advice given to him. Wellspring trainers and the school leadership set strategies together, and the Head Teacher has managed to apply them in the school. He tried to rebuild the team and value each member; and he started collaborating with the Director of Studies who was not considered as a leader. Today there is change at this school. The Head Teacher who models every good practice he wants in the school has started with modeling punctuality. He came to school early and showed both teachers and learners that there is benefit in getting to school on time. When you get there you notice a considerable decrease in the late-coming rate on the side of students. Teachers are responsible and they are in classes teaching or in the office preparing lessons. One teacher told Wellspring trainers, “Now we have a leader!” The leader tried his best to manage and solve conflicts that were in the school, and the spirit of unity is reigning. It is encouraging now to see teachers in both the primary and secondary sections working together for the achievement of a common goal.
In Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) training, we go through a process with parents in which:
- they share successful stories in their lives
- they discover that they should be citizens and not clients in their lives
- they get to know how they can use what they have to secure what they need
- they discover and share individual gifts (gifts of heart, of head and of hand)
- they become aware of the power that a community has
- then members of a community discover their concerns, their dreams and their gift-giving opportunities.
Parents said that they were helped by this training and have understood their role in the schools. Before, some parents said, ‘we thought that once we had given school materials and school uniforms to our children, the rest of the work belonged to the school; but now we have understood that we need to visit our children at school; that it is important to know our children’s teachers, etc…’ According to Head Teachers, after the training of ABCD to parents, a big change is noticeable: parents visit their children at school; they even take some initiatives for the development of the school.
For instance, after the ABCD training in one schools, a parent decided to follow closely his child who had poor performance at school. He started asking his child what they had learned at school, checked his school materials, and he realized that the child was neither taking notes nor doing homework. He went to meet the child’s teachers and shared about the learning of his child. After discussing with the teachers, they decided to follow the child’s learning process. After a month, the parent was happy to see a big change and improvement in the child. Now the child is doing well at school and is eager to do more because he has realized that the parents care. This particular parent, together with other many parents, thanks Wellspring for having trained them, awakened their minds, and helped them to find solutions to their own challenges. They assure us that they are going to continue working together and think of more things they can do to improve the learning process of their children.
Be sure to check out our STORIES page over the coming months to learn more about the impact of Wellspring’s work in these, and many other, school communities.
“Please pray for our team, that we may continue giving our humble contribution towards building a better future for Rwanda through education.” – Rachel
Please pray for our WORK:
- For our vision of transformed schools and vibrant learning communities to become reality
- For health and strength so that we may continue to serve God through education
- For courage and wisdom to fulfil our calling, especially when we face resistance
- For continued personal and professional growth, and effectiveness in our variety of roles
- For the implementation of a new Competence-Based Curriculum in Rwanda, and for God’s help in bringing all partners together for an effective and smooth transition
Please pray for those we SERVE:
- For a heart and thirst to see children’s lives transformed through quality education
- For parents living in extreme material poverty, whose children often struggle in their studies
- For increased involvement, understanding, and support from parents
- For more and more teachers to model the values they have been trained in
- For wisdom as school leaders work towards change in their schools, often facing many challenges – and for leaders at all levels of the Rwandan education system
Please pray for our COUNTRY:
- For a sustainable Godly peace and stability in our region, and a safe environment for our work
- For the youth of Rwanda, many of whom are attracted by a modernism that neglects Christian values
If you would like to discuss how you can become more involved, or if you are interested in supporting an additional classroom, please contact Louise.