In the middle of April, the MindLeaps Rwanda team was concentrated on sending kids back to school. These were kids that finished our preparatory program last December and went to school for the first time ever in January 2017. Some kids had excellent results in the first term. Others struggled. According to those who did not do well, the first term was challenging because they had to adapt themselves to a different learning environment with an extensive curriculum in a very short period of time. After many years out of school, these kids said they could not imagine themselves sitting down in a formal class. Everything was new and different. But they did it! And now they are so excited and motivated to improve their marks in the second term.
In the short discussion with their teachers and principals, it was mentioned that the first term is the shortest. So it happens to become especially challenging for students who tend to be slower learners. Yet for other kids, like Joseph Nyandwi and Simon Munyakazi, the first term was easy. Joseph said that as long as he gets food and sleeps well, other things become easy because he has enough strength to work hard. As for Simon, he will tell you that he likes competition. He said that every time he sits in class, he wants to become first in his class.
MindLeaps is counting 65 kids in different schools now and 16 of them are candidates for the final primary school national exams. The three candidates we had in 2016 all passed the difficult Primary Six National Exam, and they are now doing well in secondary school. Pacifique Niyommwungeri is one of 16 candidates who will write the exam in 2017. His dream is to be the top student in the whole country.
It is interesting to ask these kids that are now attending school a question: “What is your dream when you finish your studies?” Most of them will say that they will work hard so that they can help other vulnerable kids. None of them wants to buy a sports car or live in a villa; they just want to help others when they grow up.
Let’s wish all of them good luck.
Eugene Dushime is the Country Director for MindLeaps.