Learning and playing in Gikongoro

Newsletter from SOS Children's Villages to Cybercom.

At the start of the year, 98 children lived in the Gikongoro SOS Children's Village in Rwanda. The two youth accommodation facilities beside the village house 118 young people. The preschool welcomed 90 children, 34 of whom live in the Children's Village. The others come from nearby communities. The SOS Children's Village primary school received 330 students, including 66 from the Children's Village. The other 264 live in the surrounding area. The family strengthening programme has helped hundreds of families on the path to self-sufficiency.

None of this would have been possible without you and other donors. Thank you for supporting SOS Children's Villages in Gikongoro! 

Dental health, computer education and child participation

During the year, SOS Children's Village Gikongoro has worked to improve health in general and dental health in particular. Schoolchildren both within the village and in the community outside have been given access to toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste, and knowledge of how teeth are damaged by too much sugar. We have also worked with education in hygiene and cleanliness and how to avoid infectious diseases.

The quality of the education has been improved through the ongoing training of teachers. All 42 students in the final year of primary school passed their tests and were eligible to go on to secondary school.

All students have received education in computing and have gained skills in Word, Excel and Internet use.

Children in preschool have been educated in children's rights and have been involved in the development of programme activities. Staff have also been trained to consider the views of children and to enhance the children's participation. During the year, there has been extra effort invested in training teachers and other employees in English.

Eleven-year-old Carene likes to study

Carene loves school. She is one of the best in her year. But life has not always been easy for Carene. After her mother died, the family has found it difficult to cope. Her father is a mechanic but only has occasional work. Carene is the youngest child and it was far from certain that she would be able to go to school. But she managed to get a scholarship to the SOS Children's Village school in Gikongoro. On a typical school day, Carene gets up at half past five. She eats breakfast that her father prepares, and then walks the two kilometres to school.

"I am very fortunate that my father is alive. Although he doesn't have much money, he cooks food, washes and takes care of our home so that I can concentrate on school. He is so proud of me. The SOS Children's Village school sets high standards, which means that I am challenged to work really hard with my studies. Mathematics is my favourite subject. It is also the most important subject. Sociology is my weakest subject. Much of the teaching material is in English and I'm not that good at it yet. But I spend a lot of my spare time learning English."

"If I hadn't been given this opportunity I would have worked in agriculture or as a maid. I would not have had a clue about what opportunities are available. My dream is to become a doctor so I can help to cure the sick and get an income that can give my family a better future."

Emile is passionate about educating children for the future

Emile has worked as an English teacher at the SOS Children's Village primary school for four years. He is fighting against ignorance and illiteracy in Rwanda and believes that society's future will be determined by the students he is teaching today.

"I decided to become a teacher when I was very young. I saw how my own teachers were working to create a better society and I wanted to be a part of that. I teach in English, and what I teach the children will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The best part of my job is seeing the children seeking knowledge and asking and questioning what I'm saying. I know that I am equipping my students with the knowledge and skills that will help them and prepare them for the future - both intellectually and socially."

"I worked in two private schools before I started here, and I think that the teachers at the SOS Children's Village school are more committed to their jobs than other teachers. I think we get more encouragement and regular training and that it's easier to work here because we have the proper teaching materials."

Kristina Cato

Head of Sustainability and Communications

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