CITW Rwanda – Growing in leaps and bounds

In line with Wilderness Safaris’ 4Cs sustainability ethos (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture), Children in the Wilderness (CITW) was launched in the community surrounding Bisate Lodge. Here we aim to provide a specialised focus on environmental education for the children of Bisate who will one day become the decision makers and conservation leaders of the community.

Both Bisate Primary School teachers and Wilderness Safaris staff, lead by our very own Ingrid Baas, have volunteered their time as Eco-Mentors, and have committed themselves to running our Eco-Club Programme in the school.  Click below to read about how we started in Rwanda:

Ingrid sent us an update of what’s been happening with CITW Rwanda since we launched there in April 2018, and considering it hasn’t even been a whole year, we are blown away by what Ingrid and her Team of dedicated Mentors have achieved. We’re also so proud of the children from Bisate, who are playing an active role in being ambassadors for their environment. A huge thank you to donors and Wilderness Safaris guests, for their generosity and for seeing the worth in our programme. Read all about what CITW Rwanda has been up to below – enjoy!

CITW Eco-Club at Bisate Primary School

Most of the children that were part of the CITW Eco-Club at the school in 2018 were in their final school year – P6, meaning that they start secondary school this year.

We agreed with the Eco-Mentors and Head mistress of the school that the new children that will join the Eco-Club will be selected from P4 and P5. Allowing the new Eco-Club members to be part of the Eco-Club for a minimum of 2 years.

Since so many children would like to join the Eco-Club, it is impossible to let all of them join. Basically all children in P4 and P5 would like to join, as the Eco-Club is the most popular activity at the school!

The Eco-Mentors decided to give a class to all scholars that are interested, this meant a class for more than 100 children. Since they could not fit in a normal class room the teacher Damascene conducted the class outside. This special Eco-Club class was all about the National Parks and wildlife of Rwanda. After the class the children wrote a small test and the best scoring and most enthusiastic children have been invited to join the Eco-Club from now on.

The total number of children in the 2 Eco-Clubs, The Mountain Gorillas and The Golden Monkeys, at Bisate Primary school  is 60.

Eco-Club selection class

CITW Eco-Club lesson supplies

At the beginning of the school year the Eco-Club Mentors received all the lesson materials that are needed to conduct all the Eco-Club lessons for this year. From buckets to a white board, markers to a scale, magnifying glass to paper plates, flip chart to scissors. Nothing is missing to guarantee successful, interactive Eco-Club lessons. All the materials are stored in lockable trunks to ensure safe keeping at the school. The lesson materials were purchased with the help from Bisate guests.

Eco-Club lesson materials

CITW scholarships with support of Bisate guests and Olympus for a period of 6 years (secondary school period)

With the support of Olympus and the Bisate guests we are able to sponsor 8 children through their secondary schooling from January 2019 onwards.

The children have been carefully selected by the CITW Rwanda team, the Eco-Club mentors and the Head mistress of Bisate Primary School.

The selection criteria are based on the performance of the children at school, the national exam results and the motivation and active involvement in the Eco-Club lessons and activities.

From January 2019 CITW will support Chance Mutuyimana, Aline Kuburimana, Claire Iradukunda, Jeanette Muhawenimana, Jackson Nibishaka, Innocent Ntirenganya, Aime Desire Nshutiyimana and Jackson Samu Umuhire with their school fees plus the uniform and school book costs.

We have the funds available to continue the sponsorship for the duration of their secondary schooling, so from S1 to S6.

All 8 scholars will continue their schooling at Bisate Secondary School.

CITW phone and WhatsApp group

The Eco-Club Mentors received a CITW phone with Whatsapp and a good camera. From now on they are able to send us weekly reports and pictures. A Whatsapp group between the Eco-Club mentors, the Head mistress of the school and the CITW team has been set up and has already improved the communication. We were able to purchase the phone with the kind donations of the Bisate guests.

WakaWaka lights for the teachers

The Eco-Club mentors struggle at home with electricity and have difficulties to complete their school work after dark. We supported the Eco-Club mentors with WakaWaka solar lights so that they can continue their work and preparation for the Eco-Club. The WakaWaka solar lights were donated to CITW by Bisate guests.

WakaWaka lights and CITW phone

Internet at Bisate Primary School with the support of Bisate guests

A big wish of the Bisate Primary School was to be able to provide internet to all the students of the school during their computer programme lessons. The school has a computer classroom with desktops and laptops, but up to now could not connect online.

With the very generous donation of the Bisate guests, Robert and Allison Green, CITW was able to assist with the installation of internet at the school and to cover the license fee for the full year.

The children are already using the internet and browsing to find information!