Rwanda is considered one of the poorest countries of the world, and also the most densely populated. Unfortunately, sending their children to pre-primary schools isn’t an option for many families who face insurmountable financial challenges. Through the community childcare program, you can really make a tangible difference in the lives of the children by helping in community run pre-schools for children who might otherwise go without an education.
44% of the population live below the poverty line in this densely populated sub-Saharan African country, with the 1994 war and genocide having destroyed all sectors of the country. This includes the education system, which has made attending school a challenge for many local children. Sometimes the schools are too far away for children to reach, in other cases the family simply cannot afford it. Even when children do attend schools, they often have to walk long distances each day in order to attend their classes.
Through a residents initiative, Nezerwa village banded together to try and resolve the education problem. Members of the local community pooled resources and money to build the Nezerwa Nursery School, which enables 70 children a year to develop not just an education, but also psychosocial support, social skills and to develop their physical, mental and cognitive skills. However, only two teachers and one cleaner staff the entire school!
During your time on this program, you will be supporting the two teachers. A much-needed endeavor, as the school is considerably lacking in staff. You will work with the children and manage activities to promote their learning through activities, basic English lessons, learning games, and drawing. In addition to this placement, you will also have the opportunity to work in a school in the nearby community of Gasabo.
The impact this program has on the village is significant; before this program began the local children had never had the opportunity to meet foreigners or practice their English. The children and their families gain cultural awareness and important exposure to the world outside Rwanda by meeting with participants and learning about their culture. This, combined with developing English skills, sets the children and community members up for many more opportunities and career options in the future.
Weekday Schedule (Monday to Friday)
You can expect to be working around 4 to 5 hours each day, this time is spent both teaching the children, arranging activities, and preparing the lessons and activities for the following day. The distance from the center depends on your specific placement, some placements are as close as a 10-minute walk, others are around 30 minutes away.
Your daily activities will vary depending on placement location, the specific needs of the school as well as your own lesson plans, but a sample daily schedule might look like this:
Arrange activities in the childcare center/kindergarten
Preparing lessons for the following day