Rwanda’s new school year started in October 2022, heralding a very exciting time for the six schools that Wilderness Rwanda’s non-profit, Children in the Wilderness (CITW), partners with in the company’s three areas of operation. In addition to the current 110 scholarships, 30 new CITW scholarships have been awarded!
This means a total of 140 students are now sponsored for six years of schooling – at Bisate Primary and Bisate Secondary schools near Wilderness Bisate, Akayange Primary and Rwabirharamba Secondary schools in the area just outside Akagera National Park, where Wilderness Magashi is located, and Gisunzu Primary and Kinihira Secondary schools close to the Gishwati Forest.
The scholarships are valued at USD1 800 per student for the duration of the six years. Included in the scholarship are the school fees, lesson and study materials, school meals and school uniforms. This brings the total value of the 140 scholarships to USD252 000, truly impressive support for the students, their families, and the community at large!
This is an especially exciting time for the S4 students. They passed their national exams on completion of S3 in secondary school, and depending on their school results and study direction, will now be attending a number of different schools in Rwanda. This means that our CITW students who are continuing with S4 are branching out all over the country, and of course, still flying the CITW flag high. So, besides the six schools that we have partnered with, we now have 32 CITW scholarship students starting in S4 in an additional 19 schools all over the country!
The additional 30 students are all starting their first year of secondary school, referred to as S1. The remaining 110 students received their scholarships in previous years, and although they all originally started in S1, they are now spread over S2, S3 and S4.
This coming school year our CITW scholarships will be supporting 12 girls and four boys in the first grade, seven girls and five boys in the second grade, and 23 girls and 25 boys in the third grade at Bisate Secondary School. At Rwabiharamba Secondary School we have three girls and three boys in the first grade and five girls and five boys in the second grade. Furthermore, we support six girls and two boys in the first grade, and four girls and four boys in the second grade Kinihira Secondary School. Lastly, we support 19 girls and 13 boys in the fourth grade now at various schools across the country.
The funding for these 140 scholarships is generously provided by Wilderness Bisate and Magashi guests and trade partners.
Our CITW Rwanda team, the various Community Committees, Eco-Club mentors and the Heads of the schools carefully chose the 30 additional learners on the basis of academic merit and participation in their Eco-Clubs (CITW’s interactive, fun and educational environmental skills programme for primary school children). Now enrolled at their respective secondary schools, these youths will continue their extra-curricular environmental education via our CITW YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship) Clubs. The YES Club is designed for older learners, expanding on the conservation concepts introduced in Eco-Clubs.
In order to retain the scholarship in each grade, learners must maintain good academic results while showing dedication, motivation and good behaviour. CITW Rwanda Programme Coordinator, Aline Umutoni, will monitor the progress of each learner on a regular basis.
“We keep records of all school results, have regular meetings with the schools and the teachers, and I keep in contact with all 140 students in our scholarship programme. In this way, we can ensure that all of them are doing well, and stay motivated to perform in the best possible way. If there are any problems at home, with school supplies or their study results, I will notice this early on, and the CITW team can provide extra support if required. It is fantastic that so many of our students have passed the Senior 3 exams and are continuing their studies elsewhere”, said a proud Aline.
In her role as Operations Manager for Rwanda, Ingrid Baas is ultimately responsible for all CITW and Community projects in the country. “We are very grateful for our donors’ generosity. Some of them have supported the CITW programme in Rwanda since we launched our first Eco-Club in 2018, and are still committed to helping”, she added. “Other donors have visited Bisate or Magashi more recently, and after learning about the programme, were inspired to support it. What started as a small programme with just eight CITW scholarships has grown substantially to 140. This is our commitment not only to the children, but also to the families and community at large”.