When you first enter Imena Academy, you know there is something different about it. The neighborhood around it isn’t anything spectacular, as you can see from the picture, so you are immediately caught off guard when you enter the school. Behind these green gates, there is a clean, bright learning space that can only be described as inspiring.
The school proprietress, Antoinette, has an amazing story and a hope for the future. Her faith in God and commitment to educating Rwandan’s poorest children is evident as you walk through the classrooms.
Within the walls of this little school, quality is exemplified. Antoinette has advocated for her students and teachers in order to provide a top education. She has built her school slowly, adding one grade per year to ensure success. She has taken donated and thrown out desks, computers, and books, paying whatever necessary to fix them in order to provide her students access to education materials.
But what does quality actually look like? At Imena, it looks like this:
A clean and stimulating physical environment. You won’t see any trash on the ground at Imena, the bathrooms are clean, and the students are well dressed. Student work is displayed in every classroom, along with bright teaching aids.
Students are eager to learn, and eager to greet you. Learning is evident everywhere you go.
Materials are being utilized. I am amazed at how organized the little library is at Imena Academy. All of the books are color-coded, organized, and in classrooms being used! There are also other materials available to teachers, such as posters and CDs.
Teachers are valued. Antionette ensures that her teachers learn among the best, and partners with International schools, so that her teachers can visit and learn from them. Teachers are encouraged to think outside the box, as classrooms are set up in ways that are conducive to learning, such as having all of the desks in a U shape.
The real reason Antionette has been so successful, is because of her heart. In her own words, “ When you do something with love, you will succeed. To me, giving an education to these children is more important than making money. To educate children is noble – it’s the best business.”