Teach 30 Rwandan Women to Read, Write & Calculate

by Global Grassroots

After more than five years of sustained work with illiterate women, Innocent Baguma and the Let Us Build Ourselves team have concluded their venture in Rwanda. As you may have realized during this time, Innocent was a marvelous team leader and everyone on the team has been deeply committed to teaching women in their community how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic. These skills are essential for anyone to operate in life. For those who do not possess this skill, they must rely on others to read any mail they receive. Those who cannot read or write do not have the privilege of casting their vote in private and they must believe what someone tells them about a contract they are signing. Even signing a contract was nearly impossible as most of them could only mark an X, never knowing how to write their own names on a piece of paper; something much of the world does without even thinking about it. Those who cannot add or subtract or know what any number represents are susceptible to fraud and being taken advantage of even when simply buying eggs or milk. Being literate opens up the world - and Let Us Build Ourselves helped open up the world to many, many women over the years. We are incredibly proud of Innocent and his team and the women who have graduated from their literacy classes.

Not surprisingly, Innocent has become such a wonderful leader in his community that he has moved into a greater leadership role in politics and no longer has the many hours needed to not only lead the team and continue teaching but to also do the continual fund raising necessary to meet the venture's operating expenses. Over the last year, it has become increasingly difficult to raise enough money to pay the teachers, buy educational materials for the students, and pay the rent for the classroom. Unfortunately, no one else on the LUBO team has the time available to take on this leadership role as the majority of the team have families to care for, subsistence farms to tend, and other jobs to go to each day. Therefore it is with great sadness that LUBO has concluded their literacy work.

Donations to Let Us Build Ourselves in the last two months will be redirected to one of our literacy projects in Uganda, Women Are The Pillars Of The Home (Mon Aye Gang), funded in part through our Global Giving project: Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change. We invite you to click on the link below and learn about our work with vulnerable, marginalized women in Uganda through our Academy for Conscious Change.

On behalf of Innocent Baguma and the rest of the Let Us Build Ourselves team, we offer our deepest gratitude for your steadfast belief in our work and your generous financial support that enabled the team to change the lives of so many vulnerable women. Because of you they are now much less vulnerable. Thank you.


Women in this year
Women in this year's class

We end 2015 and begin 2016 with the same message: Thank you all so much for your generous support of Let Us Build Ourselves! With your help, and a one-time gift from a sponsor, Innocent and his team will continue to offer literacy class to the 20 women who have been enrolled this past year. We expect to be able to cover expenses for this next quarter.

Each year Let Us Build Ourselves (LUBO) has welcomed 20 students (mostly women) into the classroom and taught them how to read, to write, and to do basic math. In addition, the team has used the classroom to also teach women some foundational business skills so they might manage their households and/or run a small income-generating project. And as these women have acquired this important knowledge, they have also learned about their legal – and their human – rights. And as we all know, knowledge is indeed power.

The women who have been through the LUBO course have gained confidence, knowing that:

  • they are able to learn new things and put them to use;
  • they are able to provide better for their families;
  • they understand better than most the importance of education;
  • they know their rights, both in their communities and within the walls of their homes.

Innocent, the Let Us Build Ourselves team, the capable women they are teaching now, and the women who hope to learn still need your support. Please make your gift now and please ask others to do the same. It takes relatively little to change a marginalized woman's life - for good.

All of us at Global Grassroots wish you a new year filled with love, joy, health, and happiness. Thank you so very much!


Let Us Build Ourselves students
Let Us Build Ourselves students


Thank you so much for your loyal and generous support of Let Us Build Ourselves! While “We couldn’t do it without you” is always a thoughtful sentiment to express to donors, in this case it couldn’t be more true. That’s why this is a difficult report to write. As you know, our wonderful group of dedicated folks has been working very hard to teach their neighbors and community members how to read, write, and do basic math and, along with all of that, they are helping to instill pride, confidence, and dignity where there often is none. Being illiterate is a heavy burden and the Let Us Build Ourselves team’s mission has been to try to lighten that load.

The last several months have been a challenging time for our team. The demand for their help remains high and they try not to turn anyone away who wants to learn. The group gets some of their revenue from generous supporters such as you as well as from a traditional dance troupe they put together. This talented troupe is comprised of children of some of the women we tutor along with other children in the village. It also includes street children in the community. These children also receive tutoring from the team and benefit from the healthy, positive environment. They learn self-discipline and how to work as part of a team and they gain confidence and self-esteem, all attributes that will help them leave  behind life on the streets.

The dance troupe is often hired to perform at weddings and other festive events and celebrations. Unfortunately this endeavor has not been as lucrative over the long haul as the Let Us Build Ourselves team had anticipated. As a result, meeting monthly expenses has been very hard for Innocent and his team. They have had difficulty meeting payroll and several of the teachers have gone without pay, just so their students can continue to learn. In June, Innocent reported here that they had caught up with payroll – to that point - but they were still short to meet other expenses. Since June, they have continued to struggle financially. This has been demoralizing for them all and several team members have had to find other work. Sadly, the Let Us Build Ourselves team feels they may have to close the door on their venture.

The team’s annual budget is $5,000. This year, revenue from all sources, including your generous donations and the dance troupe, totals just $770, a tremendous shortfall that the team has done their best to work around. We are hoping to find one (or several) donors who would be willing to sponsor the team, making a commitment to support the team from year-to-year. In the meantime, we would be incredibly grateful if donations could at least help Innocent and the team cover the shortfall to date: $2,982. This would catch them up on payroll for the past three months and cover outstanding expenses such as rent, class materials, etc. Any contributions at this point will help and will be gratefully accepted but we must ask: is there a donor out there who would be willing to make a larger gift to help Innocent and the Let Us Build Ourselves team continue to do their admirable and important work?

Again, our heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude go out to everyone who has supported this project. Without you, hundreds of people, mostly women, would not have the ability to even sign their name to a piece of paper. Thank you.

Writing for the first time
Writing for the first time


Dear Sir / Madam,

We are sending a report of the first term which just ended the week of May 19th 2015. The first term started by the end of March 2015 and we plan to commence second term on 13th of July 2015.

Accept our strong thanks for your continued partnership in making Rwandan women literate. As usual the number we have in class is twenty women and their progress is impressing. In fact they can construct short sentences and they can count. They are also able to do some addition as well as subtraction of numbers.

In our previous report we had said about sensitizing women on the importance of literacy and we managed to do this as we have started debating sessions at least once weekly and we have noticed the success as they are able to share ideas and speak in public.

Challenges are as follows

-       As mentioned in our previous report the renovation of the classroom as well as furniture maintenance was not done due to insufficient budget.
-       Although we managed to pay old debts of teacher’s salaries, there is some doubt for the coming months.
-       We still have a problem of a computer and printer which are normally helpful in preparing examinations and reports writing as well as doing various documents.

Our plan for the second term is:

-       To continue teaching reading, writing and simple arithmetic.
-       Maintaining sensitization programs of debates on literacy importance especially to a girl child
-       Organize study tours of various business centers, so that they   can be able to prepare their own small projects.
-       Training women on their rights.

Here are some questions to share

-       Are you seeing domestic violence cases in your country? If so what are the impacts to a woman and girl child?
-       As far as human trafficking is concerned who are affected most men or women?

Dear partners, thanks again for your friendship and we continue to pray for continuity.

From our team “Let us Build Ourselves” we wish you happy moments in your endeavors

Thank you very much,

                                                               Sincerely yours,



Another student writing his first sentence
Another student writing his first sentence


Learning to write
Learning to write

Dear Sir/Madam,

It is a great pleasure at this moment to send you our sincere greetings. The year 2014 passed with twenty more women who are now literate thanks to everything you do to make our program succeed.

As a matter of fact, women continue to experience changes in our community since this program started. There is a remarkable transformation of lives; although there is still a long way to go.

As far as the students program is concerned, we are still in the process of registering new students and we expect to start the new term in April 2015.

In our previous report we mentioned the evaluation of our implementation that was done by our ex-students who gave us some useful advice in the field.  An interesting thing is that our former students have been sensitizing other women in the community to come and join this program and this is working.

Challenges we continue to face are as follows:

-       Every time we start a new year we require materials for the classroom and this requires funds to help support our illiteracy teaching.

-       The problem of paying our teachers remains unsettled.

Our plan for this first term is as follows:

-       Teach another 20 adult women from our community
-       Teach the alphabet
-       Teach reading, writing and simple counting
-       Sensitize women on the importance of literacy. We ask:

  • Don’t you think that literate women can do more than a man can do?
  • Don’t you share the idea that educating a woman is educating a community?
  • Who plays great role in looking after children, a woman or a man?

Dear partners in womens development, we thank you once again for maintaining a relationship of high standard. It encourages us and brings us hope.

From our Team “LET US BUILD OURSELVES” we wish you all a forthcoming joyous Easter.

Thank you very much,

                        Sincerely yours,


Working on addition
Working on addition



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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.globalgrassroots.org
Project Leader:
Gretchen Wallace
President and Founder
Hanover, NH United States

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