Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Rwanda has awarded scholarships to eight learners for the full duration of their secondary school education. The funding was provided by Olympus and Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge guests, and covers school fees, books and uniform costs.
“We are very passionate about the CITW Rwanda programme, and excited to extend educational support to these learners. Without financial support, it is unlikely that any of them would complete secondary school. They all come from rural backgrounds with no electricity, plumbing or even basic water access in their homes. This generous funding from our guests at Bisate and from Olympus, coupled with CITW’s strong community programme, will open up opportunities for them to improve their lives and those of their communities, and contribute to conservation in the area”, said Ingrid Baas, Wilderness Safaris Rwanda General Manager.
The recipients were chosen on the basis of their academic performance and level of participation in the programme’s Eco-Clubs. They were carefully selected by the CITW Rwanda team, Eco-Club Mentors and the Bisate Primary School Headmistress. Chance Mutuyimana, Aline Kuburimana, Claire Iradukunda, Jeanette Muhawenimana, Jackson Nibishaka, Innocent Ntirenganya, Aime Desire Nshutiyimana and Jackson Samu Umuhire are attending Bisate Secondary School. The prerequisites for retaining the scholarship each year include showing dedication, motivation, good behaviour and maintaining good marks.
Providing scholarships forms an integral part of the CITW programme, enabling children from rural backgrounds to complete their schooling education. In 2018, CITW awarded over 600 scholarships across its regions, divided between primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Many of the previously funded learners are now working within the ecotourism industry, in Wilderness Safaris or other lodges and camps.
“Our efforts to develop the next generation of environmental leaders is a vital part of our mission to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. Bisate Lodge and Magashi, set to open in May in Akagera National Park, are committed to working with CITW Rwanda to showcase the importance of sustainable and authentic ecotourism”, added Ingrid.
CITW launched its Eco-Club programme in Rwanda last year in April, with 60 learners from Bisate Primary School and a group of Eco-Mentors led by Ingrid and Aline Umutoni, a Bisate Lodge employee. Running for less than a year since its launch, the club continues to do well, focusing on its mission to educate children on conservation and environmental issues.
“The opportunity to award the scholarships is, for the Rwandan CITW and Wilderness Safaris team, a sign of what can be achieved in a relatively short time. It is a promise to ourselves to continue with the programme and increase our efforts. This is just the start”, said Ingrid.