Rwanda School



With everything going on in the world right now, how about some good news? After a short hiatus due to COVID, our second project in Rwanda has almost completed. But before jumping into the new project, we are thrilled at the success of the Nkuzuzu preschool that opened in 2019 - now in its third year! WHAT? Hundreds of children have already benefited with nourished minds (education) and bodies (food) – most of which would have gone without otherwise. It has become a centerpiece for the families of the Nkuzuzu community and we are very happy with the results.

However, with the opening of the Nkuzuzu preschool, a common topic of conversation kept coming up: How do we attract and train teachers to support the growing number of preschoolers as a result of the construction effort?  Rev Ethan Carlson, Director of the Rwanda Ministry Partners, shared their solution with plans to build a Center for Early Childhood Educational Excellence that would serve as both a preschool and as a training center for the East African Christian College (EACC). He asked if Weaving Hope would consider funding this project and of course, we gladly said YES! For 20+ years Beacon has served hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States, so it was a logical next step after the Nkuzuzu project. The Center is now under construction in Kubaga, a rural village about 30 miles outside of Kigali.

The Center for Educational Excellence will be a part of EACC under the education department/faculty, with a purpose of comprehensively and holistically training EACC college students to become effective preschool teachers upon graduation. There is a great need for additional qualified teachers all throughout Rwanda, especially within the Anglican Church of Rwanda’s preschools. The new Center will provide a sustainable foundation and a continual pipeline to support the church and country’s early childhood educational initiatives.

"It is a natural succession to the nation-wide initiative of preschool centers that have been constructed, are functioning, and flourishing over the past several years (aside from Covid related closures)," says Rev Carlson. "The Center will be a fully functioning preschool and will not only serve young students and families immediately after opening, but it is also designed and equipped to serve as a supervised student-teaching and training environment for college students."

It really is a perfect next step. Faculty and college students will be able to meet educational goals, while preschool students are simultaneously taught in a safe, supervised environment that is conducive to their learning. Carlson goes on to say, "We estimate that over the next 5 years, the Center will produce over 400 teachers and serve as a preschool for over 500 children. However, it's bigger than that. These 400+ teachers will go out into Rwanda’s preschools to impact the lives of thousands of children every year."

Beacon continues to partner with burton+Burton through a 20-year business relationship and friendship with Maxine and Bob Burton. burton+Burton manages the inventory, sales and distribution of the baskets that were made by a Rwandan women’s cooperative and imported last year right about the time the COVID pandemic hit. 100% of the funds from these baskets is returned to Rwanda to fund these projects.

"It's interesting how things happen," says Mark Dirks, Beacon’s CEO. "My mother, who came from near-poverty, stressed the importance of education for as far back as I can remember. My father worked on church-building missions in Mexico, Russia, Haiti and Bermuda, and always focused on helping children and giving back. So it's in my DNA. And now, my son, Ryan, has taken the lead by being the main representative for Weaving Hope and working with Ethan to make this happen."

The Center is set to open before the end of 2021.


We returned to Rwanda in July 2019 for the dedication of the new school to the children and families of Nkuzuzu. What an event!

What once was a grassy side of a mountain, is now the home of 2 school buildings and a church / community center. Over 300 people attended this nearly 3-hour event, including the Archbishop Mbanda (for the Anglican Church of Rwanda), along with some local government officials. As the Archbishop stated, this will now be a gathering place for the people of Nkuzuzu, where they will go to church, attend weddings, hold special events and their children will get an education. Because there are now 2 school buildings, we learned that there is now a better chance for the community to get running water and more government assistance (supplies, teachers, etc.).

We were surrounded by the community as we cut the ribbon to the new school and unveiled the plaque. There is no question that this will be a place that will change lives, year-in and year-out. Some will no longer needed to walk 8 km (each way) if they want to attend school. Joy, excitement and appreciation filled the air.

Near the end of the event, we had a surprise special announcement for everyone. We committed to funding another school, which was met with more excitement! We then handed out some items to the children and teachers that were donated by Wake Forest University along with a few hundred balloons from burton+BURTON ... a requirement for a celebration like this and the children absolutely loved it!


In the summer of 2018, the Weaving Hope team visited three separate Rwandan preschools. The aim of the visits was to get a better sense of the needs of the students and the communities in which they live. Despite the minimalistic learning conditions that we observed, we found incredibly happy children and very involved teachers. We also had a more important reason for our visits - delivering large bags of food from the Hope on A Thousand Hills Agriculture Program.

On our first stop, we visited the Bumbogo Preschool, where our arrival was greeted by 150 children singing native songs. The children literally held our hands as they showed off their school. Their schoolhouse was the prototype of the design for the Weaving Hope mission. In addition to the bags of food, we also brought a few surprises for the children. Wake Forest University, in the spirit of "Pro Humanitate", sent along hats, frisbees and small coin purses, which were received with great excitement. Of course, all kids love balloons, regardless of where they live!  Who better than to provide balloons than Burton+Burton®, one of the largest balloon distributors in the world. We inflated tons of balloons (for all 3 schools), which were a huge hit, as you can see in these pictures. Carson Dellosa, another Weaving Hope supporter, made sure that the preschool's teachers were not forgotten in the gift-giving. A leading provider of supplemental education products, the Greensboro (NC)-based supplier sent along boxes of educational stickers for classroom use.  Carson Dellosa “understands that learning is everywhere.”

Rwanda is knowns as "the land of a thousand hills." The next school on our tour, sits on the side of one such hill, demonstrating the Rwandan landscape perfectly. The preschool is located in Nkuzuzu, a strikingly beautiful, but extremely rural area where transportation is often difficult. The school house consists of one room, a blackboard, benches, concrete floor, a partial foundation meant for a second room ... and LOTS of balloons after we departed! More happy children, led by a great teacher and supported by Hope on A Thousand Hills!

The last stop of our tour was the Kibagabaga Preschool in Kigali, located on the grounds of the Anglican Church. The connection between the students and their teachers was obvious to see. The teachers seemed endlessly (and tirelessly) engaged with the children. We were serenaded with songs and played a game of Simon Says (the language barrier making the game only slightly more challenging). More balloons. More smiles. And a much deeper understanding of community needs and the hope that we can be weaving.

Nkuzuzu Preschool Classroom
Kibagabaga Preschool Teacher
Boys will be boys! 
Balloons are fun anywhere! 
Ready for class!
The Bumbogo Singers!
Heading Home!
Hello from Kibagabaga!