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Intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
60 miles from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, Mvumba is a village in Ngoma district with many children but without access to a preschool education.
In national exams, the students of a nearby primary school, Ecole Primaire Mvumba, failed 100% in 2014 and last year 2017. After failure in National Exams, students prefer to continue their studies in the 12 years’ basic education day program, rather than joining schools of excellence and stay in boarding.
In November 2013, one nursery and primary teacher in Rwamagana city travelled to Mvumba, and launched a preschool-teaching volunteering program to figure out whether 56 children who responded to the call can actually learn and excel, like their counterparts in cities. Based on the outcomes of the program? Absolutely. This teacher came up with an initiative that will benefit not only Mvumba village children, but also the rest of vulnerable rural communities in Rwanda. This teacher was called Joseph Dusabe, the founder of Itetero Iwacu Organization.
Studying in English, the beginning was so challenging. However, after only three weeks, children were able to greet and say goodbye their teacher, count some numbers, name some classroom objects, and sing a “Goodmorning, goodmorning—this is a lovely day” song.
Even though the result was promising, the attendance was very inconsistent due to clear, unclear, or no reason at all. Apart from sicknesses and issues of malnutrition, can you think of any other reason that could have prevented children from attending such a free learning opportunity, regularly? There is! Parents were unaware of how vital a preschool education is to the future learning of their children. However, due to combined efforts with local leaders, the attendance rate kept on raising.
On Christmas 2013, children had a wonderful speech day, through which they presented different items like songs & rhymes, counting, object naming, and games. Overall, it was realized that, if given full opportunities, children in rural areas could also learn and excel, sometimes better than many of their counterparts in cities.
However, these children are hindered by different issues like poverty, health problems, and the fact that many of their parents say “it’s logical to send children to school when they are at least 7.
Normally, in Kinyarwanda, it is said, “Umwana apfa mu iterura” (a child dies in his/her first days). This means, if you fail to nurture your children in their early age, it is nearly impossible to handle them when they grow up. Based on all these program outcomes, added to the fact that early education is not settled in Rwanda, especially for children from remote areas. Thus, the idea of inaugurating Itetero Bright Academy was initiated, with a goal to maximize the quality of education, refine kids’ nutrition, and advocate for kids living with birth defects or non- communicable diseases
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