There are insufficient preschools in Rwanda, especially in the rural areas like Kimonyi (where Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) is located). [HROC is a program assisted by Transforming Community for Social Change.] Small kids have to travel, crossing roads going to school. Some don’t have parenting assistance due to life hardships. In collaboration with local leaders, we (HROC Rwanda) realized it is better if we start a Nursery School that helps those small kids, and minimizes their travels or not going to school. There is also a great number of vulnerable people due to many reasons. Some of them are single mothers, who can't afford to take their kids to school and decide to keep them home.
The school is called: Room to Grow Nursery School, with the school Motto, “Laugh and Learn.” It opened in October 2021. The first academic year will end in June 2022.
As shared in the introduction, there is need of pre-school in the area, where by there is none in the whole village. HROC thought of bringing one, with the small rooms it has. 18 kids attend a Baby class, and 8 kids attend a middle class.
Kids are learning, parents and teachers are excited. They learn languages (Kinyarwanda and English), Religious Education, Reading and Writing, Health Habit, Discovery of the World, Games… Within only six months kids can speak basic English, how to behave and interact with their friends. Solange who is acting (volunteering) as the Head Teacher has done her school of education which helps the well management of the school. Kids are also being supported psychologically, as all the teachers have gone though HROC Basic Workshop and learned the basic skill on trauma, its consequences, and how to listen to the children. This is helping in the mental development of a kid, and is done at both levels (teachers-parents/caregivers). Kids are benefiting from the Children’s Peace Library at the HROC Center, and is one of the resource rooms, and one of the teachers had learned the “ Read Aloud” methods, and can share the skills with the kids. Kids with single mothers attends school freely.
The playground is not favorable for the kids to play as it is small. No enough materials especially when it comes games, play toys, etc. Teachers needs an encouragement/payment, and yet only 16 kids can afford to contribute to the school (small amount of money to support and buy some cleaning materials). Small rooms that put limitations to more kids to come to school. Kids with the single mothers can't even afford schools materials(books, pencils, colors, school uniforms…)
- Finding a bigger place (for renting) from the same community to allow more kids to attend school
- Toy plays for the kids
- More learning books.
- Getting support to the kids with the single mothers.
from Tommy Zarembka, Transforming Community for Social Change (3/31/2022)