Newsletter: UK Project Team | Mar 16

Newsletter: UK Project Team March 2016

March 2016

Dear Friend

On my ‘second tour of duty’ to Rwanda I welcomed Rwanda Aid’s newest member of staff, Isaac. Isaac is a teacher from Bweyeye, whom I first met in August 2013 at Reach International School. He instantly impressed me with his passion for teaching and wonderful rapport with his students. It was no surprise that after having done a fantastic job as the Bweyeye Sector Mentor in 2015, Isaac was chosen by Rwanda Aid as the best person to continue the work of Debbie Sellers, fighting off competition from 17 other Rusizi Mentors. Isaac (pictured right) joins our fantastic Education Team, headed by Alex Omoit (pictured left).

Isaac’s story is particularly special because he has been involved with the Teacher Mentor Programme since Year 1. He is testimony to the success of this project; Isaac was mentored by another Bweyeye teacher, Chrisostome, who was one of the teachers that John and I mentored. Isaac’s success highlights the sustainability of this project, with the sharing of good teaching methodology amongst local Rwandan teachers who, once equipped with the knowledge and resources, can support each other to raise student attainment. It is no wonder that Isaac’s school came top of Bweyeye Sector for the 2nd year running in the Primary Exams. We shall look forward to seeing more success in the Education Department in 2016.

I visited Nkombo VTC to see how they were progressing in the new school year. Nkombo is a challenging place, largely owing to its physical geography. A remote island with a dry microclimate makes it an incredibly difficult place to live. However I was delighted to visit a carpentry cooperative consisting of 4 young men who had graduated from Nkombo VTC in December 2015. In just 2 months they had established a workshop that was a hive of activity. Chairs, tables, cabinets, bed frames… there seemed to be no shortage of orders. It was delightful to see these young people already being so successful within weeks of graduating from their carpentry course. This highlights the need for successful vocational training that enables people to gain almost immediate employment.

Our welfare project involves working alongside the Sector to identify incredibly needy families who may require housing support.

Mary is a 60-year-old genocide widow caring for a total of 10 children and grandchildren. Her daughter’s husband abandoned her, so her daughter moved back home with her children into Mary’s house. One of the children found a box of matches and accidentally set fire to his bedding. Fire engulfed their house in minutes; nothing could be saved.

Mary sold her original plot of land. With the money from this, Rwanda Aid support and Sector support, she was able to build this new house, providing her family with a stable and secure home for their future.

Rwanda Aid were incredibly fortunate to have Alison Wright, a Rwanda Aid trustee, and Janyis Watson visit the team for a month. Alison supported Damascene, our Farm Training Manager, and Jerome, our Farm Training Assistant, in their work and offered valuable guidance and support on our Farming Programme. Janyis worked alongside each member of the Rwanda Aid team, offering ICT training according to individual needs. Janyis is also a keen cyclist, and her dreams were fulfilled at Baho Neza Mwana where she got to ride an African bicycle-taxi, offering a free lift to Isaac, our Rusizi Teacher Mentor Trainer.

A huge thanks to both Alison and Janyis for giving so much of their time to the Rwanda Aid team.

Rwanda Aid has 44 supporters on Easyfundraising so far. Thank you to those of you who have signed up and are shopping online to raise money. If you haven’t yet signed up, please have a look at this page and raise a free donation for Rwanda Aid each time you shop online. I cannot encourage you enough to do this! Most major retailers including John Lewis, British Airways and offer free donations.

Thank you for all the wonderful support that you give to Rwanda Aid. We all wish you and your families a very Happy Easter.


Karen, David and the Rwanda Aid team

Please feel free to share... Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Alex, Karen and Isaac

Carpentry workshop on Nkombo
Carpentry workshop on Nkombo

Alison Wright's and Janyis Watson's visit
Alison Wright's and Janyis Watson's visit

Janyis giving Isaac a lift
Janyis giving Isaac a lift

Newsletter: UK Project Team | Dec 15

December 2015

Dear Friend

I am delighted to be writing my first newsletter as the new CEO. My journey with Rwanda Aid started in August 2013 when I moved to Bweyeye Sector with my husband John to pilot the teacher training programme.

We lived and worked in an extremely remote village with no electricity or running water. Since leaving, the project has been scaled-up and thanks to Debbie Sellers and Sarah O’Grady, it now operates in 28 sectors across Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts. Our year in Bweyeye has given me a passion for the country and I feel privileged to return as CEO.

I have just returned from my first visit to Rwanda in my new role and what a fantastic 6 weeks it was. It was wonderful being back and I loved visiting so many of our inspiring projects, including far-flung places that can only be accessed by motorbike. It really did bring home to me just how important Rwanda Aid’s work is in this part of the world.

Ngwino Nawe, our centre for children with disability, was recently used to help train six teachers from other local centres in music therapy. Alphonsine, pictured below with her class, is an incredibly gifted teacher and we are delighted that her talents are being shared to improve the quality of education for children with disability.

Ngwino Nawe also paid thanks to David for all his incredible hard work and commitment to them. The President of the Ngwino Nawe Association, Julienne, presented David with a traditional Rwandan gift as a token of their gratitude.

Baho Neza Mwana, our Street Children’s Village, saw another successful graduation of 13 girls and 2 boys in sewing. They were each awarded with a certificate and a sewing machine so that they can start-up their own business with immediate effect.

On a visit to Nkombo Island, I was recruited to help hand out mugs of sorghum, similar to porridge, to the nursery students. Tightly packed into this classroom with 145 young children, it is no wonder that I left covered in the sticky goo!

Rwanda Aid is hoping to build classrooms here so that the children can learn in a less crowded environment.

A Rwanda Aid staff social took place at Munezero House to give thanks to Jo Doyne and Debbie Sellers who are returning to the UK in December.

Jo, our Disability Advisor, joined us in February 2014 and has done fantastic work developing a disability programme that we are hoping to see rolled out nationally. Debbie joined our teacher mentoring programme in August 2014 and has been incredibly dedicated in making this project work across all 18 sectors in Rusizi District. Rwanda Aid is immensely grateful for their hard work and commitment and we wish them the best of luck for their futures.

It remains for me to thank you for all the wonderful support that you give to Rwanda Aid, and to wish you and your families a very peaceful and Merry Christmas.


Karen, David and the Rwanda Aid team

Please feel free to share... Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn