Taking Ownership: Starting from Within

REAP, in partnership with the local government, established a 12-member community board to promote community ownership and sustainability. The board comprises community volunteers and teachers from the Duha School who design, implement, and sustain community projects at the Community Learning Center and Library as well as ensure the center’s security and maintenance.

To model ownership and sustainability as leaders, board members started a community service program that engages each member in activities of choice (farming, cleaning, telling stories to children, etc.) every mont. Last month, the priority was to plant vegetables in REAP’s vegetable garden on the grounds of the center.

The Vegetable and Fruit Garden: Blossoming

With the aim to fight malnutrition and stunting (impaired growth and development in children), REAP started a nutrition program for children under five in Akabare village. The long-term initiative will benefit around 1,120 children during 2019.

On Saturdays, around 50 families gather at the Community Learning Center and Library to work on vegetable gardens and learn how to cook meals using the vegetables to supplement the food they bring from home.

We are very proud of parents who delightedly cultivate the land and panting crops for healthier children!

The Power of a Caring Teacher

Early in the afternoon, Yvonne, the youngest first grader, shows up at the REAP Community Learning Center and Library two hours before the start of the student-centered learning clubs. As the only child in the library with three teachers, she is nervous and starts crying when a teacher asks her why she came very early and what she wants to do while waiting for her classmates.

Eugene, one of our teachers, approaches her and teaches her an audio game that builds English language skills. hey play the game as he soothes her. She plays the game happily, smiling all the while.

Our teachers are trained in a supportive and caring classroom environment. As you can see from Eugene’s interaction with Yvonne.

Scholarships that Expand Possibility

Thanks to the generosity of donors, these young people each received a scholarship to attend a boarding school (“school of excellence”) that has bolstered their educational and career options. They are so pleased to have the opportunity to study subjects that they love and that will propel their forward movement.

The Gift of Literacy

Thanks to donor sponsorships, several young people had the chance to participate in REAP’s literacy enrichment program at our new center. In addition to learning reading, writing, and the speaking of English, students receive a full meal. This provides an opportunity to increase instructional time of a half day of school to basically a full-day program with explicit literacy instructional methodology that the children would not receive at school.

A Partnership to Promote Reading

Thanks to the generous donation by NABU of 15 tablets with embedded reading content, REAP and Nabu staff will hold monthly reading events at the Community Learning Center and Library. All students are invited to read as many tablet-based books (with teacher guidance) as possible each month. At the end of each week, the student selects a book to talk about with their classmates, parents, and teachers in a story evening. The REAP team and community board selects 7-8 best presenters every week. The top 30 winners of this “competition” will read with selected Rwandan celebrities, local government officials, and REAP and Nabu staff at the end of the reading month ceremony.

Presentation at the International Conference on Genocide

REAP’s Executive Director Ed Ballen recently presented at the 5th International Conference on Genocide in Sacramento, Calfornia. The theme of this year's conference was Forms of Genocide Across the Globe: Challenges, Responses, and Accountability.

Ed's workshop, Restoring Hope One Child at a Time, traced the history of REAP, its strategic efforts, and interventions, in fostering educational growth and social cohesion. Ed's talk addressed such themes as building community and connection, aligning with and encouraging locally based initiatives, and strengthening intergenerational learning. 

Routledge press has agreed to publish the proceedings of the conference.

 Ed with J ean-Paul Samputu , a fellow presenter at the Genocide Conference and a well-known Rwandan singer.  Best, Ed

Ed with Jean-Paul Samputu, a fellow presenter at the Genocide Conference and a well-known Rwandan singer.

Best, Ed

A Graduation First

For the first time in the history of Duha Complex School, a graduation ceremony was held for 30 nursery school students. Duha School is the only public school in the Eastern Province to ever hold such an event.

Parents, students and teachers proudly marched the streets of the Akabare neighborhood before going back to school for celebration. The REAP Early Childhood Specialist initiated this project to help boost parental involvement and students excitement about school, two important issues in rural public education in Rwanda.

A Visit from Ready for Reading

Ready for Reading (RFR) is another local nonprofit that owns a community library that has been in operation since 2009 in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda. Last week, RFR staff visited REAP’s Community Learning Center and Library. They played with teachers and students and taught them many new games that build community and keep students engaged in and excited about learning.  They also actively participated in our student-centered learning clubs. The RFR team was impressed by how the center is busy after only three months of operation.

 

 

The Community Notice Board

As the only community center in the village and placed at the crossroads, REAP’s Community Learning Center and Library attracts more curiosity from community and passerbys.  The notice board in front of the building creates more communication and interaction with the community. Through notices and posts on the board, the community gets to know more about REAP as an organization, as well as the center and its programming.

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Organizational partnerships enhance literacy

On October 18th, two international NGOs, A Partner In Education (APIE) and NABU (formerly Library for All), trained REAP staff on how to use NABU’s technology and educational content.

Four REAP instructional staff were trained on how to use tablets to teach students reading and various activities that develop English language skills.

In addition to training 15 tablets (hardware) were donated with content: books in Kinyarwanda and English and other language development applications.

Many thanks to APIE and NABU!

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A Story of Achievement: Mandela Bruno

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Our very own Mandela Bruno has been hired by a South African mining company.

Born in Musha and raised in Hameau des Jeunes orphanage, Mandela experienced many hardships as do myriad children in rural Rwanda. 

Mandela received a scholarship from REAP and successfully completed high school with a diploma in hospitality. 

Upon graduation, Mandela was hired as a chef by Piran Rwanda, a South African mining company operating in Musha. With competitive skills and dependable ethical behaviors, Mandela was promoted to camp manager after a year of employment. As a camp manager, he is in charge of all hospitality services for the entire company. 

All the best to Mandela!

Community Learning Center and Library: Visible Impact

Thanks to Paulin Mutatsineza for this update on the CLCL.

Today, October 6, was the busiest day since the CLCL inauguration:

NUTRITION: In the morning, 64 Duha nursery students and their parents gathered at the CLCL to learn how to cook a balanced diet for proper nutrition.  An officer from the Musha Health Center and a community health worker demonstrated nutritional cooking'; parents then cooked a group meal.

STUDENT ENGLISH LEARNING: In our classrooms, two staff members led the student-centered English Learning Clubs in which around 120 P-4 students were involved in various English language activities like reading, speaking, role-playing, and game playing.

PARENTING GROUP MEETING: Our community mobilizer led a Parent Meeting of about 60 people. The weekly community meeting addresses various social issues that affect home lives, such as domestic abuse, alcoholism, and children’s rights).

FAMILY PLANNING AND CONTRACEPTION: The afternoon featured health-based community outreach by the head doctor and a nurse of the Musha Health Center and a nurse. The doctor joined the parenting group meeting to lead a workshop on family planning and prenatal care. Seven women received contraception on the spot!

NATIONAL EXAM PREPARATION: Parallel learning activities occurred in the tech room, where REAP staff coached 17 P-6 students, who completed the research-based English literacy program, to better prepare for the forthcoming national exams.

Said Paulin: "Today, I saw and felt ‘in context’ the meaning of a community learning center and library and how the CLCL and its programs connect REAP and the community."

National exam prep: getting ready for academic success

Getting ready for national exams at the REAP CLCL. Every day for two hours, 17 sixth graders from Duha School come to the center to revise past national papers with our literacy teachers. These students went through our English writing and reading program for three years. This increases their chances for passing the end-of-year national exam and enrolling in better boarding schools with greater opportunities for higher education and jobs.

Girl Guides

REAP’s Girl Guides are committed to making Duha a better place through community service and various girls empowerment projects. Every Wednesday afternoon, they meet at the REAP CLCL for various club activities, such as knitting, debate, and environmental protection. Here, they tend to the newly planted CLLC lawn.

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Improving community

Website beautification

Journey through the website for updates, new photos, and other changes that zone in on REAP’s projects and impact. Click here strategies page is particularly impressive. Stay tuned for a page just for REAP’s press coverage.

Major Rwandan newspaper lauds the new Community Learning Center and Libraery

Read this comprehensive article in The New Times that fully describes the center inauguration, its purpose, and its impact on the community. One notable quote to pique your interest:

“One elderly gentleman, named Jean Claude Kayonga, expressed his sentiments, saying: 'Even though I am not personally able to learn those skills the centre will offer, I am particularly glad that my children will have access to this set of knowledge. I have some children who have some education and they are learning computer skills. Then, there are older siblings who will go there to learn how to prepare a good diet for their children.'“

How Rwamagana's community learning centre and library will boost education

On July 17, 2018, Rwanda Education Assistance Practice (REAP), a local educational NGO in Rwanda, inaugurated the Community Learning Centre (CLC), an educational resource centre in Rwamagana.

The new center: Recognized as significant Rwandan community-oriented initiative

Rwanda's ministry of local government (MINALOC) visited the Community Learning Center and Library and cited it as one of the major 2018-2018 community-oriented projects in Rwamagana District of the Eastern Province. Ministry representatives commended the quality of the center's services and programs. As a community hub, the center has been selected to host the 2018 parliamentary elections in Musha Sector 7.

Compelling learning

The REAP Community Library and Learning Center has become a rich environment where children to learn English language and thinking skills through games, talks, and plays.