Visiting the FAWE Girls’ School, Kigali

In July 2009 Catherine Reiland led a group of 14 teachers from across the United States to Rwanda for 30 days with the support of the Fulbright-Hays Groups Projects Abroad, a grant of the United States Department of Education. A version of this dispatch originally appeared here.

Students of FAWE. (Photo by Catherine Reiland/UW-Madison)

On a late afternoon we made our way to a girls’ boarding school run by the Rwanda Chapter of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and located in one of Kigali’s suburbs.

The secondary school, founded in 1999, represents a movement in Rwanda to promote education for all women and girls.

U.S. teachesr Sarah Hinton, Cyndi Gueswel, and Doug Goetzinger met with about 10students on the school’s expansive lawn.  The consummate teacher, Mr. Goetzinger quickly drew a map of the United States to demonstrate the location of the Midwest and Wisconsin. The girls, whose aspirations included professional basketball and engineering, taught the assembled teachers about Rwandan traditional musical instruments and wedding attire. Later the students took the visiting teachers on a tour of the school’s grounds which have a breathtaking view of green hills.

Catherine Reiland is the assistant director of the African Studies Program.