With the Ntenyo Primary School in its second term of the year, teachers and students are working hard to stay among top schools in the district. Together with Sanejo’s interns, teachers are considerably improving their level of English, which is the medium of education; as well as developing their computer skills. Additionally, Mrs. Violette organized the third psychology workshop for teachers, which had a theme of ‘trauma’ and was held in April, before the commemoration of the genocide.
The Rwandan Education Board held English assessments for the teachers in February, which was conducted on sector levels by school-based mentors. Together with our school interns, teachers prepared the assessment and teachers from Ntenyo scored among the top.
Early April marked Mrs. Violette’s organization of a third psychology workshop for teachers and community leaders; which teachers found to be enormously beneficial. After the training, one teacher stated, “I learned a lot from this workshop. I had my problems, and the children have theirs mostly caused by parents or simply their financial situation. I could not help them the way I should because managing my own problems was difficult, but today I learned how to do a personal assessment and seek help from a colleague if need be. I also learned how to recognize a child who needs help and actually how to help them.”
Furthermore, Sanejo’s interns have moved near the school for the summer holiday. They are now working at the school five days a week, where they help teachers and students in various domains. The interns are helping teachers use ICTs in the classroom, and they are the first public school in the district to be doing this. Interns are also assisting in the reading club, which offers meet-ups for club members twice a week and is striving to maintain a reading culture in the school community for all ages.
In brief, the last three months have been fruitful especially for the education pillar. Teachers’ and students’ English, computer and methodology levels are increasing considerably. There is no doubt that the end of year results will be rewarding.
Though the Ntenyo Primary School was on holiday from the end of October to the beginning of January, the time was well spent with notable achievements from the community. During the holiday period, teachers sacrificed some of their free time for a workshop with Mrs. Violette, a Kigali-based professional psychologist. In addition, the school principal started his retirement this year and the school community, local leaders and Sanejo members threw him a goodbye party for him at the end of January. Please read on for details of each event:
In November, Mrs. Violette organized a second, one-day workshop for teachers. The theme for the workshop was “Caring for children who have problems”. At the end of the workshop, the trainer identified that there was a need for another workshop on trauma, which is scheduled to take place during the end of February or early March; depending on the trainer’s availability. Mrs. Violette held another workshop with teachers on “Taking care of others”, where they learned about how to take good care of both their families and students as well as protect themselves from being affected by others’ problems.
Separately, the Rwanda Education Board has formed a group of mentors supporting primary schools across the country. The mentors help teachers increase their level of English as well as support them on new teaching methodologies, as the majority of mentors are graduates of the KIE. Innocent Munyandamutsa was appointed and works at the school one to two times per week.
Additionally, one of our interns from last year, Anita Ndekezi, stopped working at the school due to increased responsibilities at her university. Thanks to our partners at Generation Rwanda, we found her a replacement, Sabine Uwizeye, who is working with our three other interns (Jean Pierre, Godwin and Florence) to assist students and teachers.
Principal Rurangwa Retirement Ceremony
On January 31st, the school community, diocese and local leaders in charge of education as well as Sanejo representatives organized a goodbye party for Principal Rurangwa who is retiring. Mr. Rurangwa was appointed as the Ntenyo Primary School Principal in 2010, the same year that Sanejo, YAGP and partners started working at the school. He has over 30 years of experience working in education in Rwanda. He started as a primary school teacher, and was later promoted as a principal. Before coming to Ntenyo, he was a principal of two schools.
For the past four years, Mr. Rurangwa has been known for his cleanliness and discipline; which is what teachers and students said he would be remembered for. When he first arrived in Ntenyo, parents did not want to send their children to the school, and both teachers and students who went there were not proud of it. He achieved many things the time he was working at the school including:
Mr. Rurangwa has been replaced by Mrs. Thabita Mukangango, who has ten years of teaching experience and has been a local leader for a couple of years. While we look forward to welcoming Mrs. Mukangango into the community, we are very grateful for Mr. Rurangwa’s support in all of our activities. He surely will be missed at the school.
In the course of the last few months, Sanejo has achieved many things. Together with our partners, we built new classrooms as well as trained teachers on new technologies, reading techniques as well as participatory teaching methods. From July to August, the Ntenyo community and the school in particular had an opportunity to, once again, be exposed to non-Rwandan cultures and participate in a global exchange of experience, knowledge and insights.
From the end of July to mid-August, the school was on holiday. Teachers decided to use that time for their professional development and our four university interns organized English and computer trainings for them. Most of the teachers did not even know how to open a computer, but now they know how to use a variety of programs. Their level of English has also improved but most of all their confidence in speaking has improved considerably. In addition to this, a friend of Sanejo’s, Mrs. Violette Nyirarukundo, a Kigali based professional counselor, also held a one-day workshop for the teachers on compassion fatigue.
Furthermore, the school received three tablets and Pico projectors from Dr. Christine Mahoney, one of the advisors to Sanejo’s Board. Together with the interns and the volunteers who visited the school in August, she provided teachers with more training on how to use computer programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and other educational programs. These new technologies are now part of the educational tools that teachers are using in their classrooms. We are also undergoing a trial period of introducing the use of the internet to the school.
Rebuilding the Ntenyo Primary School is core to Sanejo’s five-year plan that ends in 2015. In the last few months, with the support of our partners, we have completed the construction of four new classrooms, which brings the number of new, modern, fully equipped classrooms to twelve. Students from primary one to primary six arenow studying in safe buildings. In addition, the local government fulfilled its promise to bring electricity at the school and now eight out of twelve classrooms have electricity. The community around the school can also access electricity for the first time in their lives. This has opened up new business opportunities such as welding, phone charging and other small businesses that are mostly run by or employ youth who are dropouts from the Ntenyo School.
Every year, YGAP, our Australian partner, sends volunteers to work at the school for a couple of weeks. This year we had a fantastic group of volunteers with various relevant skills, who worked with teachers, students and community members. Among many of the activities they focused on, the volunteers helped teachers with their English, organized art classes for students, taught them many games, and helped the builders with the construction of new classrooms.
We also congratulate YGAP as they celebrate their five-year anniversary of creating change in various communities globally, including changing the lives of thousands in Ntenyo. We are forever grateful to all of our partners who have contributed to the growth of the Ntenyo School and its community.