Hope Shines’ Basic Needs for Education program pays for qualified students’ school fees, school uniforms, school supplies, and health insurance. This program is a large contributor to achieving our objective of reducing the dropout rate of students in the district. Hope Shines strives to keep students in school and learning to compliment our other education programming efforts. To remain in this program, students are required to achieve an above average grade report each term, consistently attend and participate in the other Hope Shines programs during the year, display a willingness to learn, and act in good conduct in all times.
The LEAD (Life Enhancement & Academic Development) program is Hope Shines’ After-School Program. It’s goal is to keep students engaged in learning during and in between school terms. The program meets after school at the Learning Center and students get help with schoolwork and assistance and guidance for national exams. Once a week on Saturdays the students and are taught various evolving curriculum (developed by U.S. based education professionals) in Science, Math, English Speaking, and Career Development (for S5 S6 students). At each Saturday session, students reconvene for a nutritionally balanced lunch, which provides energy and nutrients to help them grow and similarly a healthy snack is offered after-school. During the course of LEAD throughout the year, students attend field trips to places that relate to the curriculum taught at that time and this enhances the retention of learning the subject matter. Finally, when applicable and available, older students will be able to participate in vocational programming within our Hope Shines projects. They will learn essential functions of business such as professionalism, budgeting, product assembly, and supply chain.
Hope Shines strives to combine imagination with education. The summer camp program lasts one week between school terms and provides multiple fun-filled, engaging modules that take the student out of their comfort zone to work with and learn from volunteer camp mentors both foreign and domestic to their communities. Campers start the week with the issuing of their camp shirt and water bottles (so that they may have access to clean water daily) and immediately begin to learn about the mentors and other fellow campers. An ever-changing curriculum from year-to-year is designed with active learning in mind. Modules in Arts & Crafts, Engineering, Global Geography, English Speaking, Sports/Play Activities, Health & Hygiene, Career Development, and Dance can be taught on any given year depending on the unique needs of the campers. The curriculum follows an overarching theme and builds throughout the week until camp graduation to finish the week off with a celebration complete with cake and Fanta. Each day the students are fed a nutritionally balanced lunch cooked by some of the camper’s mamas. During the week, their mentors promote can-do attitudes and encouragement in an effort for the students to gain confidence to one day become someone outstanding in society.
One of the most basic tenets of Hope Shines is to empower Rwanda’s youth, a project that begins with each child understanding and respecting his or her own body. The Healthy Child Program is integrated within all Hope Shines’ programs and taught by health experts and medical professionals. This initiative includes on-going overall health assessment of the child and promotes critical understandings of pro-actively taking steps in one’s life to stay healthy. Students are educated in subjects including feminine hygiene, oral hygiene, HIV/AIDS, first-aid, malaria prevention, and nutrition. Students are taken through lessons taught in the classroom and as a play activity to help students learn through visualization and fun participation. Annually, a medical doctor performs general health exams that identify issues or concerns in vision, hearing, growth, stomach ailments, skin problems, and is able to answer questions the student may have relating to their health. Finally, the initiative ensures that every student carries health insurance to allow them to be treated for ailments. In addition to health education and insurance at the conclusion of our annual camps, each child receives a special Hope Shines bag stuffed with soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, underwear, and washcloths, and even sports bras and maxi pads for the girls and their female guardians. We explain what each item is and how it is used, helping the kids to take pride in themselves and their health. It is easy to take items like these for granted, but in Rwanda such items of daily use are extremely expensive, and many girls and boys do not have access to them. The kids are so excited for something as simple as toothpaste, and it is an honor to supply them with clean teeth. Each item in the Hope Shines bag is the result of your generous in-kind donations.