Another year has passed and with it, thousands of children have experienced the transformation that comes from a quality education. We praise the Lord for the wonderful work that your partnership has made possible! Our teacher-trainers recently provided us with an update about the holistic transformation being experienced in school communities in Gasabo and Rubavu. Here’s a snapshot of the past year and a look ahead towards Wellspring’s bright future.
Please scroll down, or click on the links below, to hear more from Wellspring’s Training Team:
Messages of Thanks
Thank you for your prayers and other support to Wellspring programs. We dedicate the wonderful achievements to our Lord and to you all. Many young Rwandans are being empowered, communities are being united and using their gifts and assets to support their children in their studies. These are the fruits of your loving heart. —Jeanne
The support you give to the education of Rwandans is contributing to the empowerment of the future generation and the eradication of poverty in many families. May God bless you now and forever. —Anselme
Thank you. Your efforts are not only meaningful to the Rwandan people and the world at large, but also to the Creator, who gave us the mission to transform the world and restoration the well-being of humanity after sin destroyed it. As Anne Heyman said, “Education is the only gift that keeps on giving”. Thank you for investing in the improvement of the quality of education as a way of giving a better life to the people of this and future generations. —Philippe
Thank you for your support in making sure that Wellspring is able to continue equipping the Rwandan youth in education and leadership. We hope that one day you will visit us in Rwanda to see the fruit of your gifts first hand! —Ladislas
I really appreciate your love, care, and prayer for the individual children of Rwanda. Even though you may not know them, we are blessed by your care for them. As you pray for us, we also pray for you so that together we may work in the ‘Lord’s harvest field’ for His glory. May we be instruments in the Lord’s hands that He may use to bring transformation to the world. Thank you so much and many blessings. We love you! —Rachel
Thank you for the sacrifices you make so that Rwandan children may have a quality education. God bless you. —Aimable
Thank you very much for your support towards the development of our country through education. May God bless you. —Beatrice
Thank you so much. Without your support, much of this great work wouldn’t be possible. —David
I would like to express my gratitude for your support towards Rwandan education. I pray for you always, and pray that you will come alongside our work in other districts of Rwanda just as you have done in Gasabo. Thank you! —Emmanuel S.
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my gratitude for your support. We truly love you! May God bless you abundantly! — Ernest
Thank you to our Wellspring partners for the work you do to support Rwandan education. May God bless you! —Juliet
May God bless you abundantly. We appreciate your efforts and the love you show us in our journey towards school transformation in the Gasabo district. We look forward to continuing our work with you. Many thanks. —Mary
Thank you for your continued support and love for Rwandan children. —Theo
I thank you very much for your support. What you are doing is bringing about change in Rwanda. May the almighty God bless you. —Vedaste
From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my gratitude for your generosity. May God bless you abundantly as you continue to support education in our schools. —Gilbert
Many thanks to you, our supporters, for your high commitment towards the development of Rwanda through education, which is the the basis of meaningful development. —Emmanuel T.
A Sampling of 2017 Highlights
EXPANDING INTO RUBAVU
“In the west, dropout rates are very high, especially among girls. We seek to mobilize, motivate, and mentor all stakeholders in education to combat this. – Ernest Ntamugabo, Quality Education Trainer
In 2015, Wellspring started a pilot project in four primary schools in Rubavu. After a year on our program, the schools saw dramatic improvement. Teachers began treating students with respect, classrooms transformed into a place of engagement, and parents even became involved in the school community. After seeing this initial success, the Mayor of Rubavu asked us to become the main education partner in all eighty-six primary schools in Rubavu. We are so excited to say we have accepted this invitation and are now planning to bring our full School Development Program out west. 91,500+ students are about to experience the transformation that comes with providing a quality education that matches their God-given potential. Check out wellspring.ngo/futureofhope to watch a short film about our dreams for Rubavu!
ACHIEVING SUSTAINABILITY IN GASABO
“In collaboration with local leaders, we are crafting a sustainability plan for Gasabo so that we can transition into Rubavu with the assurance that Gasabo is being well sustained.” – Theogene Kayiranga, Senior Management: Quality Education
As excited as we are about the expansion into Rubavu, we are still extremely committed to our work in Gasabo. That’s why we’re working with local leaders to build a sustainability plan to ensure schools can still achieve the same levels of success—and even continue to improve! Our Gasabo team is hard at work implementing this plan. We’re using techniques such as peer learning and Asset-Based Community Development to make sure that Gasabo continues to be a top performing school district. With peer learning, teachers pass their skills along to one another through activities such as classroom observations, lesson planning, and feedback discussions. In Asset-Based Community Development, our trainers work with communities to help them identify their assets and understand how their talents can benefit the local school. With both of these approaches, change comes from those inside the school and communities instead of outsiders. Though many have expressed sadness that Wellspring won’t be as active in Gasabo, stakeholders are eager to take ownership over education in their district. We’re so excited to have reached this point of sustainability in Gasbao and can’t wait to see what the future holds for this wonderful district.
ENGAGING WITH LOCAL LEADERS
“Sector Education Officers are more involved than ever before. They are organizing peer learning activities in their schools along with Head Teachers. They are owning the program and the development of education in their sector.” – Juliet Kabatesi , Quality Education Trainer
Wellspring has always believed that systemic change in education stems from transformation at the leadership level. This is why we are committed to working with local leaders, both in individual school communities and in government positions. This past year, our trainers have focused deeply on developing relationships with Sector Education Officers (SEOs), local government appointees who oversee education in the different sectors of the district. Our efforts have been met with enthusiasm and success. Sector Education Officer have been eager to develop their skills by attending our workshops and joining with us during field visits to schools. By participating in lesson observations and feedback discussions with our trainers, the SEOs have not only deepened their own relationships with teachers and school leaders, but they are also learning how encourage quality education techniques at a classroom level. By ensuring that SEOs are equipped with the tools necessary to promote quality education in their sector as well as helping them to take ownership over the program, Gasabo is taking another step towards sustainability.
TEACHING AIDS IN RUBAVU
Our team in Rubavu has been hard at work in recent months to lay the groundwork for our new expansion. This includes finishing up our pilot program in the region, Christian Foundations in Education. This program saw school leaders and Sector Education Officers participating in various modules about quality education techniques, such as the use of teaching aids and effective group work. During a recent module, Trainer Philippe shares that many of these leaders confessed that they had been sinning by consistently teaching in a bad manner. They were more concerned with their own wellbeing than the wellbeing of their students, and would often fail to carry out their job responsibilities and would miss crucial details in the running of a school. After participating in these modules, they testified that their hearts have been changed by what they have learned. They promised to make every effort to break their bad habits and implement these changes at the school.
We can already see the improvement that is taking place as a result of this transformation.
Another trainer, Anselme, shared with us that the skills from these modules are already being passed down to teachers and even students. After a module about how to create and use teaching aids made from local materials, students were given the assignment to create a teaching aid that demonstrated their own creative talents. For a biology class, one student brought in a replica of the digestive system made entirely from recycled papers. For science class, another student brought in a model helicopter also made from local materials. The teachers were surprised and encouraged to see the creativity of their students and even used these student-made teaching aids in their lessons!
STUDENT LEADERSHIP AT GATSATA
Over the years, Gatsata Primary has become one of the best performing schools in the Gasabo district. This is due in large part to a leadership team who has adopted servant hearts and promoted Christian values at the school. They have created a community that encourages peer learning and supports teachers, parents, and students alike. The Head Teacher and Deputies have even encouraged the students to begin their own leadership team to teach them important leadership skills and responsibilities. The students have been empowered to take part in real student affairs, like checking in on late comings, following up with students who have dropped out and encouraging them to return to school, and helping students who are facing conflict at home. They have created care groups for each neighbourhood where students can check-in and share updates about how they are doing. Given its success, the student leadership team is now even being giving a voice in the decision-making process at a school leadership level. Since the student leadership team was established, lateness has decreased substantially among students. Learners are taking responsibility for one another and encouraging each other in their studies.
COMMUNITY LEADER TRANSFORMATION
As part of Wellspring’s initiative to ensure that change is sustainable, we work with communities and local leaders to sensitize them to their role in education. Once this is understood, parents and communities are eager to rally around their local school to ensure that their children are receiving a quality education. They use their assets and talents to meets the school’s current needs, which ensures that quality education is self-sustainable.
At a recent meeting, a local leader confessed that, before Wellspring, he felt that education did not fall under his responsibilities and that it was not linked to the development of his sector. He testified that attending Wellspring’s meetings has helped transform his heart for education. Now, he understands that education is at the centre of development. He thanked our trainers and Community Involvement team for their dedication to his sector and their commitment to seeing quality education provided to every child.
This marks a real shift in mindset, as previously this local leader had wanted Wellspring to engage in tangible, infrastructure projects, such as building new classrooms and giving desks or school materials, instead of training teachers. He did not understand that transformation comes when communities take ownership over their own assets to provide for the school instead of outside agencies. Now, he is spearheading the movement to help develop the schools in his sector and understands the importance of providing training for teachers
As our training team looks ahead to the coming year, they will be focused on the following:
- We will continue to follow in the footsteps of Jesus by preferring dignity and worth on every individual, no matter their circumstances.
- We will come alongside poorer performing schools, providing them with the necessary support and training to see them excel. In doing this, we will also ensure that the model schools in their sector are participating in peer learning with these schools by passing along techniques and skills through events such as teaching aid fairs and model lessons.
- We will continue to focus on mobilizing parents and empowering them to bring about change through their own skills and talents. When parents are invested in their child’s education, they use their own assets to improve the school based on its current needs. This helps school communities achieve self-sustainability.
- We will engage with Sector Education Officers and other local leaders to see the impact of our program grow beyond individual school communities.
- We will fully implement our innovative School Development Program in Rubavu district. We seek to spark the same transformation seen in the Gasabo District as we engage with parents, teachers, and communities in the pursuit of quality education for Rwandan children.
Please pray for our WORK:
- For God’s guidance as we seek to expand our work into new regions, while also ensuring the sustainability of quality education in Gasabo. Please pray for wisdom, love, and grace throughout this process.
- For strength for our trainers as they travel to rural schools in the pursuit of giving all children access to a quality education.
Please pray for those we SERVE:
- For Sector Education Officers and Head Teachers to take ownership over our program. Remarkable transformation occurs when leaders are supportive of quality education.
- For open minds, particularly as we seek to empower girls through education. With the expansion into a rural region comes many new challenges, such as traditional mindsets surrounding the role of women.
- For parents to become fully engaged in their child’s education. When children are supported at both home and school, they are set up for success.
Please pray for our COUNTRY:
- For stability in Rwanda and the surrounding countries that have undergone elections this summer.
- For the continued success of the Competence-Based Curriculum in Rwanda as the program begins its third-year. Please pray for the process to continue to yield positive results and strengthen the relationships between teacher and student as it undergoes review by the Rwandan Education Board.