Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Teachers Centre: Rwandan Ingenuity

On Wednesdays my idea is to be ‘world wide’ with an environmental focus. So today it’s a recycling ingenuity project in Africa.

As a keen recycler, I had one day in Rwanda that blew me away. (Many days were memorable and moving.) The ingenuity and hope of this day we spent doing a tiny bit to support their initiatives was a real highlight of our visit.


A teacher’s centre in the UK is often full of resources. There are books and materials, ideas and advice. Even when times are hard it’s a place where colleagues can meet and share knowledge.


My cousin, Mary, who volunteered in Rwanda for two years training teachers, has established a resource base for new teachers in a small town in western Rwanda.

Here the resources serve the same purpose as any other teachers centre but are very different.

All manner of everyday objects have been channelled into the centre to support learning.


Rwanda has recently done two very significant things. They have changed the language of learning from French to English and enabled education to all children up to twelve. Their challenge is that a great many teachers were killed in the genocide.

But there are many projects aimed at tackling these and their many other challenges.

We spent the day in my cousin’s teacher centre, learning about the resources and how they make a difference.

We created a set of fourteen charts for a school. Though the raw materials are simple rice sacks, the knowledge sharing is sophisticated. Each one is opened and the raw edges are melted with a candle. We made charts of world maps, the countries of Africa, the alphabet, the months, the days of the week and food names. All painstakingly traced against the windows.


These are the type of resources a classroom would have across the world and with dedication such things are being created everyday in teacher centres like this one.

We also used bottle tops to create counters and a shaker that can be used to attract attention in a busy classroom.

All of these will help a school to replicate a similar set for each class and stimulate learning.


It was a day where, as a teacher myself, I was extremely proud of the achievements of my cousin and humbled by the powerful simplicity of what we did.

Their teachers are in their teens and enthusiastic to learn and share new skills.

Meanwhile, very conscious that when resources are plentiful in other countries, learning is still such a major goal for young people across the world, even if they have very little.

To understand that resources that are commonplace elsewhere, are so hard earned there was a key lesson for me too.

It was our last full day and it really struck me how hard this nation is working to make progress and the many lessons of hope that Rwanda can share.

And next time I need a resource I hope I think carefully how to make one!



8 comments on “Teachers Centre: Rwandan Ingenuity

  1. Rambling Woods
    March 14, 2014

    I will enjoy reading these… Good idea…


    • lizard100
      March 14, 2014

      Thank you. It was an incredible trip. We had memorable experiences every day.


  2. andy1076
    April 7, 2014

    I remember reading about the genocide years ago, It was horrific, so glad to see a revival of life, knowledge and culture. Love this!


    • lizard100
      April 7, 2014

      They still have a lit of challenge. Many people in their twenties had no high school education as many teachers were killed and also list their parents. I think it has the lowest average age in the world.


      • andy1076
        April 7, 2014

        Nurturing the spirit of education and encouragement, just might bring that average up. Maybe if there was more sense of safety?


      • lizard100
        April 7, 2014

        The safety in the country is so high it’s one if the safest in Africa now. It’s coming.


      • andy1076
        April 7, 2014

        Big Cheers to that! 🙂


      • lizard100
        April 7, 2014

        Yep! Thanks for taking the time to read.


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This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in Rwanda and tagged , , , , .

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