Newsletter: UK Project Team March 2016
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 Booking.com 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
Alex, Karen and Isaac
Carpentry workshop on Nkombo
Alison Wright's and Janyis Watson's visit
Janyis giving Isaac a lift