It seems that everywhere you go in Rwanda these days, people are eager to learn English. Not only has the country recently changed its official language from French to English, but with the steady growth of the tourism industry there has also been an influx of English-speaking tourists from countries like America and England. While students now learn English in class every day, it can be more difficult for other segments of the population to find opportunities to study their new official language: adult learners, those who have already completed their studies, those who never went to school, those who work full-time, etc. That’s why, in an effort to address this, we recently launched adult English lessons for the staff here at Imbabazi. Each week, our gardeners, orphanage mamas, guards, and cooks enter the Imbabazi classroom with their notebooks and pencils in hand (made possible thanks to donations of from visitors) along with an enthusiastic “good afternoon teacher!”
For 2 hours each week, we go over material such as the alphabet, greetings, numbers, and vocabulary related to work at the orphanage. Although 2 hours a week is not a lot of time when it comes to learning a new language, students are often spotted around the orphanage studying together during their breaks and even practicing their English with visitors! Thanks to their enthusiasm and hard work, they can now introduce themselves, count to 100, and describe daily activities in English after just one month of class. We hope to build on this success by working on a community outreach initiative, including activities such as English teacher workshops at the local primary school and English/literacy classes for adults in the community. Stay tuned!