Finding the Heart of Africa – Our Trip to Fruits of Hope Academy
By: Elena Rossi, Strategic Program Manager, Salesforce.org
It’s impossible to travel to a country where part of it’s history stands out so much as the genocide in Rwanda and not have preconceived notions. And for the group of 10 from Salesforce that travelled together with Team Hope earlier this year that’s what most of us had – but these images of what Rwanda would be like quickly dissolved when we arrived in Rwanda’s Capital, Kigali and were welcomed into one of the cleanest, most tranquil and hospitable cities in the world.
Giving Opportunity with Technology
Our trip to Rwanda had a clear goal – the volunteer and probono team from Salesforce and Salesforce.org were to bring a technology package to Fruits of Hope Academy, a school identified by Team Hope (an Irish Development Agency) that needed specific support. This package was to help the school better engage in new technologies, promote its work and its mission online, and offer ICT resources for students and staff.
It included a new website, a student focused management tool, and ICT training modules for the entire school staff. Over the course of the week, a number of volunteers worked on the website, some worked on implementing Salesforce CRM and others provided coaching to the teachers and students on applications like Excel, Word and PowerPoint. The great thing about it was that everything was done collaboratively; the staff and key leaders at the school worked closely with volunteers to make sure their new website and CRM met their requirements and would be able to support them as the school scales in the future.
We spent every day during our trip at the Fruit of Hope Academy, working alongside the teachers and the students, and learning a great deal about their lives and about Rwanda.
After the time of genocide, Rwanda dropped the French colonial language and adopted English. They also decided to add ICT to the regular school curriculum. Today, Rwanda has one of the best records in education in the world with 98% of children in schooling age actually attending school. This commitment to education and their interest in ICT and technology made our activities so much more fun and engaging. Everyone got involved and each individual made memorable connections
Fruits of Hope Academy describes itself as “offering hope by teaching with a God-centered worldview, providing a caring atmosphere where students pursue academic excellence, Godly character, relational maturity and develop spiritually.” Immediately we saw how this statement echoed throughout the school community and was guided by its inspirational leaders.
One of the most memorable of these being Fred Buyanza, Founder and Headmaster. A man who learnt to read and write in his teens in the Ugandan refugee camp where he grew up, Fred’s story is the most remarkable testimony of human resilience and lust for life. He has a drive to put education and progress at the forefront of his teachings and is a leader in the truest sense of the word.
It’s always surprising how much you get out of giving. Giving is not a one way engagement – while we were in Rwanda to support Fruit of Hope Academy, they gave us something back that cannot be bought, or cannot be matched by simply ‘taking’. We were welcomed into a community, and learned and grew together. Sure it was only a week, but the memories and friendships will last a lifetime.
Find out about another of about our Africa Programs with Karibu Centre in Kenya
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