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Share the vision of APIE – a partner in education

Share the vision of APIE – a partner in education

 

by Deborah Miarkowska

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” John F Kennedy.

APIE has an extraordinary vision and we would like to share their story.

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 smoking 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. Its future lies with its children. 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.

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APIE’s Mission – Education For All

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.

phionaSix-year-old Phiona  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 the Girubuntu team to ensure that no one misses out on their chance to build a better future.

APIE – a visionary organisation

APIE believe that basic literacy and numeracy are the building blocks for personal growth and learning. Reading in particular opens a gateway to knowledge and information and provides the tools for individuals to take an active role in their own development.

moses_0Four-year-old Moses  lives with his mother after his father abandoned them. She is HIV-positive and fears that Moses might have been infected in a recent car accident. Moses’ favourite subject is mathematics and he hopes to become a doctor one day.

With Girubuntu, we want to do much more than just fix a few leaking roofs. We hope to create a stimulating learning environment that will encourage children to stretch their imaginations and realise their full potential. We want to build a safe place for both boys and girls to play that caters for their holistic well-being and addresses their own diverse needs and backgrounds.

The school has always boasted an exceptional level of English teaching, with many teachers raised in Uganda. Through exposure to an international language at an early age, we hope to broaden the children’s horizons to offer them access to a wide range of opportunities. Also, with plans for adult evening classes, we want to promote and improve education across the whole community, in particular among men and women who missed their schooling during the genocide.

Even beyond the physical infrastructure, the task is huge and will involve a complete review of the school’s funding and finances, management and recruitment, and even the educational structure. We want to help the Girubuntu team to create a model for primary education that can sustain itself long after our initial involvement.

apie-a-partner-in-education

Currently, two-thirds of the pupils pay minimal fees, pitched to be affordable for even low-income families and scaled to reflect individual means. These fees go to pay running costs and staff salaries, to ensure that the remaining third of orphans and severely disadvantaged children are able to attend for free.

Here at Girubuntu…100 children study for free because of APIE support.” Eugene Rudasingwa

However, the school finances are constantly stretched and leave little or no surplus for learning materials or textbooks. We therefore need support not just to build the new school but also to meet some of the most basic practical demands for effective learning.

APIE’s mission

Access to Education
•To encourage ongoing education for all, regardless of means or background.
•To further the UN Millennium Development Goals, most specifically the achievement of universal primary education by 2015.

Quality Learning
•To facilitate and improve basic literacy and numeracy to enhance lives and livelihoods.
•To promote creativity, critical thinking and cognitive skills as essential tools for social empowerment and community development.
•To motivate parents, teachers and pupils to take an active role in holistic education that caters for individual needs and abilities.

Read More about APIE HERE

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