Run for Rwinkwavu 2017

Dear friends and family,

We're at it again! The Nkondo Enrichment Program is going strong and we need your help to keep it going, growing, and changing the lives of children in Rwanda.

Alain is lacing up his sneakers to Run for Rwinkwavu. Root him on by donating to the Nkondo Enrichment Program and help us meet our fundraising goal of $8,000!

Celestin, a teacher at the local primary school and a Nkondo Enrichment Program founding teacher, plays vocabulary bingo with studetns.

About the Nkondo Enrichment Program:

First, a special point of pride: 

John K.  is the first student in the history of Nkondo Primary School to gain a Level I score on the primary leaving exam, putting him at the top of performers nationwide.

Meet Francis, John's father, who is one of NEP's founding volunteers. (John not pictured as he's at boarding school working hard rather than posing for photos!)

Many other NEP students gained access to secondary school as well. Diana A., one of these outstanding students, shares her experiences:

Diane and her mother. This school success is serious business!

Q: Why did you join NEP and what did you like the most about it?

D: I joined NEP because I failed the primary school national exit exam on my first attempt. NEP was helpful in preparing me for my second attempt on the national exam. Though I had tasks to complete at home, I started asking Mama to let me go to NEP every Sunday as I had realized it was helping me preparing for the national exam. Mama was very supportive.

At NEP, we'd review our courses and learn English and this helped me pass the national exam. I really enjoyed studying "social studies" at NEP. It was not taught well at all at our regular school. I remember that the national exam questions asked about topics that we had covered at NEP. I liked our teacher Ms. Clementine at NEP so much. 

Q: Tell us about your new school.

D: I was so happy when I got my high school admission letter. The only sad part was my friends who didn't pass. I was very happy. I said "thank you, God". Though I knew that my mom wouldn't afford the tuition fees but I was still so excited to have passed the exam and to have been admitted.

Of course the teaching is better at the boarding school, but I also wanted to meet new people and to see a larger world. I wanted to meet kids from other parts of the country; kids from Kigali and from many other places. I feel proud that now I study with kids who went to fancy private schools in Kigali.

I am learning so much at Espoir High School. My former classmates who unfortunately had to stay at the local school (Basic 9 Years Education) are not taught as well as I am. When we compare our courses and fluency in English and French, my level is much higher than theirs. It would be nice if more students could be able to attend NEP and if NEP could assist financially every student who is admitted to a boarding high school.

Q: What do you want to become once you finish school?

D: I wanted to learn everything, but I like math the most. I want to become a doctor or an engineer.

Vestine Muberugo practices her Kinyarwanda writing.

The Nkondo Enrichment Program started in 2011 in order to improve school quality for 6th grade students and their teachers at Nkondo Primary School. The goal was to give them a shot at secondary school, which students enter via exam. The program was so successful that last year, we expanded to the 4th and 5th grades as well.

Since its start, the program has relied on volunteers: Rwandan community members, teachers, parents, village chiefs, as well as Partners In Health staff from around the world.

We've had amazing success:

Since the start of NEP in 2011, Nkondo went from being the worst performing school in the sector to being the best. While the school had never sent any child to secondary school before 2011, that is no longer the case:  in 2015, 22 out of 54 participants (41%) gained access to boarding secondary schools; in 2014, 34 out of 75 (45%) did so. This is up from 0% in the years before the program. We're fundraising so that we can develop better metrics to study our impact. The bar for secondary school entry is set at the national level, so we need a way to compare ourselves to schools in the area.

In order to build on this work and track our progress, we need your help.

Our annual costs are $8,000. With this, we:

1) provide weekly academic support to 300 Primary 4, 5 & 6 students in key academic areas: English, math, science, social studies, Kinyarwanda and IT.

2) provide scholarships to secondary school students who have excelled in the program and passed their exams but are unable to enter secondary school due to financial constraints.

3) provide capacity building for our Nkondo Primary School partner teachers by conducting workshops on lesson planning, curriculum design, and course material preparation as well as ongoing teaching mentorship. This includes training in English language and teaching pedagogy to all Rwinkwavu sector teachers in collaboration with the US Embassy.

4) hire a Data Coordinator to help us track and understand our work, and improve the program.

5) engage and develop relationships with parents to encourage their active participation in their children's learning. We also link them to literacy courses at the local library.

6) celebrate learning through an annual trip for students and teachers to nearby Akagera National Park - a place many of them have never visited.

Help us continue this important work and continue to transform the lives of children in rural Rwanda!

With gratitude,
Celia, Jean Marie, Alain and the Nkondo Enrichment Program team

Claudette & Louise practice writing in English.

About Alain Uwumugambi:

Alain is a Co-Founder of the Nkondo Enrichment Program. He worked at Rwinkwavu Hospital from 2[phone redacted] and is currently a hospitalist in Brockton, MA.

About Celia Reddick:

Celia Reddick is a Co-Founder of the Nkondo Enrichment Program. She worked as the Partners In Health Curriculum & Training Specialist in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda from 2[phone redacted]. She is currently a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

About Jean Marie Habimana:

Jean Marie Habimana is the ICT Program Coordinator at Ready for Reading and the Nkondo Enrichment Program Manager. He is an advanced diploma holder in ICT and has a passion for education and social justice. “I love working with kids and learn a lot from them. In my two years of working in rural education programs, I have seen a great need to improve literacy and English language skills as the key to good performance among primary school students "

Note: All money donated will go directly to program activities, which take place in Rwinkwavu, Rwanda. The location in Boston, MA is solely for fundraising purposes.

Jean Marie teaches students to use Microsoft Word.


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Celia Reddick 
Cambridge, MA
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