The community center and library brimming with activity

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Movement abounds in the newly launched community center and library.

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The power of an education

This is why the work we do is so important. A message from Paulin:

"Right now I am at the Center with Elisaphane. As we approached the Center from an end-of-semester meeting at Duha school, we found 10 P5 students impatiently waiting for a teacher in front of the Center. Elisaphane welcomes them with a smile.

Usually, there is no learning the last day of school. Students only come to school to get their school reports and go back home, ready for holidays. It’s very exciting to see students thirsty to learn the last day of school."

Center inauguration gets local press coverage

The new community and learning center inauguration received some great press coverage in Muhabura.rw, a major Rwandan online source of news. Click on the post's title to go to the article and fantastic photos.

July 17, 2018: Community center and library inauguration

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Our very own Jean Paulin Mutatsineza describes the library and community center inauguration:

"The opening of the center was a big deal yesterday (7-17-18. Around 500 people attended, including a member of parliament who was born and grew up in the community, the vice mayor of Rwamagana District, and an official in charge of technology in education from the Ministry of Education."

Much Gratitude to the MoneyGram Foundation

REAP extends its grateful thanks to MoneyGram Foundation for its generous 2017 grant of $45,000. This contribution enabled us to construct the recently completed community center and library, which expands our efforts to enhance the educational opportunities for Rwandan youth, their families, and the larger community.

Pellagia Gambiza, grants and program administrator manager at MoneyGram International, extends her hearty congratulations:

"Wow! I sat at my desk and scrolled through the pictures over and over and was just teary eyed. I can imagine the excitement in the community and among the children as each stage went up bit by bit. The craftsmanship is beautiful and the attention to detail is perfect. What a wonderful space for the children and the community to come and learn and grow. Well done REAP!"

Excitement in the community rises as the construction of our Community Library and Learning Center nears completion!

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What used to be farming land earlier this year has now become a center of excitement in the Musha Community as construction of REAP's Community Library and Learning Center continues.

Currently, we are working on the painting and landscaping, as well as rainwater harvesting. The community has been volunteering its labor through the government's community service program every last Saturday of the month.

Expected to be completed by the end of May, the Center will serve as a common space for the community to come together. Community members will be able to acquire skills and access the resources that they need to further their social and economic development. In this way, the center will become a location of strength, joy, and healing.

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REAP Attends the International Social Work Conference in Kigali

 JEAN PAULIN MUTATSINEZA, THE REAP COUNTRY DIRECTOR PRESENTS OUR VISION TO DR. MATHILDE MUKANTABANA, THE AMBASSADOR OF RWANDA TO THE US.

JEAN PAULIN MUTATSINEZA, THE REAP COUNTRY DIRECTOR PRESENTS OUR VISION TO DR. MATHILDE MUKANTABANA, THE AMBASSADOR OF RWANDA TO THE US.

REAP was selected to participate in the International Social Work Conference held in Kigali from March 19th to 22nd.  Organized by the Center for Research and Innovation in Social Work (CRISOWO), the four-day social work conference brought together over 500 people and organizations including US, European and African universities, non-governmental organizations, and individual social work practitioners from across the globe. 

Mathilde Mukantabana, the Rwandan ambassador to the United States, was the keynote speaker. She started the social work program at the National University of Rwanda in 1999.

REAP presented our school social work model in the context of rural public education.  As an ambassador to the community, our paraprofessional social worker visits families in the community to ensure their participation in their child's education. Our presentation stirred the interest of many attendees. We were able to privately meet with the Rwandan Ambassador to share our vision of community development, and explore the possibility of collaboration with other nonprofits in the future. 

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Students of Green Hills Academy and Duha School Join Hands to Serve the Musha Community

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Recently, 60 students and 5 teachers from Green Hills traveled to Musha, Rwamagana for a Community service day at the construction site of the REAP Community Library and Learning Center. Fifteen students from Duha and REAP in-country staff joined them and helped at the construction site. The activities included passing bricks to masons, forming a laterite base for the floors and site clearance. At the end of the activities, students had a talk with teachers and the REAP project manager about community service, project management and civil engineering.

When the Community Library and Learning Center is complete, regular community service programming will be put in place to better involve the community for increased impact.

Duha Student Garden Project Supports Student Feeding and Practical Learning

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Rwanda recently introduced the new Competency-Based Curriculum with
the aim to provide students with practical skills and competency in key
developmental sectors like agriculture, entrepreneurship and technology,
among others. In rural public schools with limited resources and training, it
is a challenge for teachers to shift from knowledge-based teaching to the
competency-based one.
In addition to this, REAP initiated a School Vegetable Garden Project last
summer. Throughout the week and on every Saturday, 20 students from the
Duha primary school work on the vegetable gardens under the guidance of a
teacher and a parent. The project is primarily intended to help students
acquire practical skills in the areas such as farming, botany and nutrition.
Furthermore, it helps to feed students who come from low-income families;
in many cases, these students eat only one meal a day.

With the Construction of the REAP Community Center, REAP Provides Job Opportunities to the Musha Community


The construction of our Community Library and Learning Center is underway. The foundation work is now complete, and we are starting brickwork this week. The Center will provide opportunities and serve as a knowledge hub and a platform
to help address various challenges in the community.
From the beginning of the construction, we offered 86 unskilled labor jobs and 24 skilled labor jobs to local villagers. A group of parent leaders has selected the most vulnerable people to be hired so that their essential needs, including health
insurance and food, can be met.

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Construction of REAP’S Community Learning Center is Underway


This past week we broke ground for the construction of our Community Library and Learning Center in Musha, Eastern Rwanda. We are digging foundational trenches and will start masonry this week. Our Community Library and Learning Center will provide a range of literacy programs as well as computer training for schools in Musha and the surrounding community. In addition, the center will also serve as a community hub where people gather and gain skills and knowledge necessary to
address the pressing challenges in the community such as food insufficiency, family planning, school dropout, and illiteracy.
The construction is expected to be completed by January 2018.

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Duha Early Childhood Development Center is a Model for Early Childhood Education in Rwamagana District

Started by the Rwandan Government in 2012, the Duha Early Childhood Development (ECD) center was selected to be one of the two model ECD center for the entire Rwamagana District.  As a parent-funded center, with no regular funding from the Government, the center has faced operational and educational challenges like lack of teachers’ professional development, and training,  crowded classrooms and poor nutrition.

From 2013, REAP initiated a milk and porridge feeding program to ensure proper nutrition, and hired an Early Childhood Education worker. Our REAP early childhood specialist worked in partnership with the school leadership and parent committee to help improve learning conditions and outcomes. Students were grouped into three levels according to their age groups.  The REAP child education worker then trained teachers in participatory/hands-on teaching methodologies, and  trained teachers to set up 5 learning centers (Creativity, Construction, Language and literacy, Numeracy and Role play).

Enrollment has tripled from 60 in 2012 to 185 now.  District and Local government officials have touted the Duha early childhood center as one of the best in the District. As a result, visitors frequently come to gain knowledge of best practices in early childhood education.

REAP Participates in Rwamagana District's Partners Exhibition

Every year, Rwamagana District invites partners in the Joint Action Development Forum to a weeklong exhibition for them to showcase their services and products to the public.

This year, 63 partners including NGOs, and faith-based organization participated. REAP was invited and highligted some of our achievements including student clubs, technology in learning, school leadership project and Saturday school. The librarybox drew the interest of many participants as a relativley simple technology that can provide rich educational  content from the internet to schools without Internet access.

"Keep up the good work and expand to serve more schools, I am sure they are waiting impatiently" said the District Mayor as he thanked the REAP's project Manager for his  presentation.

 Mr Mbonyumuvunyi Radjab (far right), the Mayor of Rwamagana District, Mrs Kamanzi Beata (far left), the Rwamagana JADF permanent secretary visit REAP's booth

Mr Mbonyumuvunyi Radjab (far right), the Mayor of Rwamagana District, Mrs Kamanzi Beata (far left), the Rwamagana JADF permanent secretary visit REAP's booth

Aaron Hakizimana, a Duha Student, Achieves a Perfect Score on National Exam

In Rwanda, students take their national exams twice in an effort to enroll in a government board school. These schools are called schools of excellence, and present greater opportunities for further education as well as an increased chance for productive employment.

Aaron Hakizimana regularly attended the REAP led and funded Saturday School at Duha that provides enriched instruction and preparation for the national exam. As a result, he achieved an aggregate of 8 for the ninth grade exam, the highest score one can obtain. This is a remarkable achievement for a student from a poor rural background who attends a public school.

Duha school's national exam pass rate has increased from 80.1% in 2015 to 87.6% in 2016 for grade 9 as a result of REAP's academic enrichment programs.

REAP Scholarship Program is Changing Lives

Fidele, a recent scholarship graduate, has now become an English teacher at Duha, the school where he studied from grade one to grade nine.   After his father’s death at age 11, his mother remarried, leaving Fidele alone and improvised in a thatched roof house. With REAP’s support, Fidele regained hope, courageously pursued his studies and achieved a high school diploma.

“When I lost my father, I thought my life was at the end. I was homeless, with no food and no hope to study. When I received a REAP scholarship, my life changed completely. I finished my high school diploma at a teacher training college. I now get a monthly salary as a teacher at Duha. I have built a house for my mother and myself and I plan to go to university in a few years” said Fidele during an interview with REAP Education coordinator.

 

Duha Debate Club Challenges Another School in Competition

Started by REAP in 2014, the Duha Debate Club now counts 67 student members who are coached by 2 English teachers. 

Club coaches and student representatives came up with an idea to organize a debate competition with GS Janjagiro, another 12-year Basic Education school around 5 miles away from Duha.  The first competition took place on October 12, 2016. The debate competition proved to be an engaging and fun way to advance English skills, organize an argument, integrate knowledge across several disciplines, and boost confidence and teamwork.  As a result of this competition, Duha School now is reaching out to other schools to expand debate competitions.