Rwanda – the land of a thousand hills and a million opportunities. In 1994, the people of Rwanda experienced an evil that has rarely been seen on the face of the earth. Genocide ripped families, communities and even churches apart. Over 800,000 were estimated to have lost their lives. The people of Rwanda are still dealing with the aftermath of this crisis.
But Rwanda’s story is about far more than genocide.
It is unfortunate that Rwanda is so often uniquely associated with the terrible events of 1994. Though the events of those dark days still remain in the hearts of Rwandans, rather than causing despair they cause hope – hope for a better future.
Few countries are more readily poised for rapid development, and it is all about leadership. The current government is committed to turning Rwanda into a trade hub for the East African Community, the “Switzerland of Africa”, and an “African version of the Asian Tigers”. This type of optimistic language echoes not just from the halls of government but from upbeat, everyday citizens who see themselves as capable of creating their own futures.
At Edify, we commonly say that we are “assemblers, not builders”. By this we mean that rather than creating our own programs from scratch, we seek to build on the great work that other like-minded ministries have accomplished so as to not reinvent the wheel. This mindset is at the heart of our methodology.
Rwanda is rife with opportunity. Not only are private schools in abundance here, but there are many Christian ministries which have developed training programs which will work well in the schools with which Edify partners.
That is not to say all this will be easy.
Rwanda remains one of the poorest nations on earth, with 90% of its population eking out a living on subsistence agriculture. According to USAID, 9 out of 10 people live on less than $2 per day. Although the government of Rwanda places a high importance on education (allocating 15% of the national budget to the Ministry of Education), there are simply not enough funds to go around to achieve both universal education and reasonable class sizes with quality instruction.
Private schools have an important role to play in providing access to education. By partnering with existing schools run by Rwandan entrepreneurs through small business loans and training, we come alongside their vision for transforming their communities. We think this is the key to having a dramatic impact on a national scale.
We thank you for your prayers and look forward to what God sees fit to accomplish through us during our time here.