Nestled in the heart of Africa, the tiny republic of Rwanda has faced relentless social and political upheaval in recent years. The tragic genocide which peaked in 1994 left nearly a million dead in just three months.
A lush land of green sprawling hills and volcanoes made famous by Gorillas in the Mist, Rwanda remains one of the poorest countries in the world with no resources other than its people.
Despite some remarkable achievements and global acclaim as a pioneer in African development, the country continues to face enormous challenges and average Rwandans still struggle to survive.
With a population of nearly 11 million people, 60% are under 20 years old and an estimated 400,000 are orphans. Of these, 20% head their household and care for younger siblings, with little or no opportunity for formal schooling.
Six-year-old Phiona (left) lost her mother a few years ago. Her father now struggles to care for four children and cannot afford to send them all to school. Phiona’s favourite subject is English and she hopes to become a teacher when she grows up.
Fortunately the Rwandan Government recognises the importance of education and the need to invest in the next generation.
Setting ambitious goals to teach in English and implement learner-focused techniques, enrolment rates for primary and secondary schools soared between 2009 and 2010.
However, the stretched public system fails to reach everyone and orphans and vulnerable children in particular continue to be neglected. As a result, APIE is working with the Rwandan government and local teachers and administrators to ensure that no one misses out on the chance to build a better future.