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Canadian donors see results in Rwanda

December 21, 2011 – “Thank you for believing in us.” This was the sentiment conveyed by a boy representing his community’s children’s council when speaking to a group of donors this past fall in Rwanda. The group of donors travelled with Plan Canada to visit a primary school project that they – along with other Canadians – helped to fund.

The integrated project – which is mid construction – is building two, 12-classroom primary schools in the district of Gatsibo, a rural area of the country where children, especially girls, often don’t have the access to a quality education that is their right.

Beyond bricks and mortar, the project will ensure these schools are filled with books, furniture and other supplies necessary to promote quality learning. The schools will also be equipped with water and sanitation facilities. Teachers will be trained so they can become skilled, motivated educators, and a girls’ club will form to give female students a safe space to share their opinions, concerns and successes.

A life changing experience

To welcome the group to the community, hundreds of children greeted them with signs and sang songs. The children also put on a performance of traditional dance, which they taught to the Canadian visitors.

As a way to be even more part of the project they helped make a reality, the donors laid bricks in one of the schools’ walls and were presented with the plaque that would hang on the schools once complete, to acknowledge the partnership and friendship between Plan Canada, our donors and the community.

“I can’t really explain just how life-changing the experience was; it was wonderful to see with our own eyes, and feel with own heart, the impact our gifts had in the field. I saw, first-hand, that you can give something that in Canada seems so small but that makes such a big difference for someone else,” said Karen West, one of the trip’s participants. “Your money is literally being put toward programs – like the primary school project – that are benefiting the people who need it.”

Watch this video to see more donor insights from the trip

“You are looking at the future of Rwanda”

As a further sign of how important this project is to the community, the mayor also came to welcome the visitors and he spoke of the future of Rwanda:

“In Rwanda we have a tradition that when you give a gift of a cow, you receive a gift of its first offspring back in return. If education were cattle, these children would one day fly many planes filled with cows to you in Canada. Because cows don't fly, instead these students will repay your kindness with hard work and progress – they will use this gift of education to improve the lives of all around them. You are looking at the future of Rwanda, and they will make good things happen around the world because of this opportunity. Thank you.”

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