Faith & Roger Shaw met in the UK in 1983 at college. Faith grew up as a refugee in a family of limited means, yet she was fortunate to be admitted to a very good high school in Uganda. That lucky break gave her the boost that made her the women she is today.
Ever since then, she has wanted to create a world-class school in a deprived neighbourhood. Faith is still friends with many of her old schoolmates. Her dream is that many decades from now, former students will be connecting with each other from wherever they ended up around the world to reminisce about the good old days at Pioneer.
Rwanda really is a great model for developing countries. Truly amazing strides in development are being achieved. It is probably unprecedented for a country to rise from the ruins of 1994 to the state of orderly peace & prosperity we see today.
There are many private schools popping up in Kigali and thanks to the increase in prosperity there, such schools usually turn out to be very profitable.
In contrast, we are located in the rural village of Mwendo, in the Bugesera District of Eastern Rwanda where there is still a lot of catching up to do. It’s a subsistence economy with very few opportunities for children to advance beyond their parents’ level. Rarely can families in this village afford school fees.
We have chosen the less travelled path. Our goal is to make a permanent positive impact by focussing on one rural community by educating the next generation to the highest standard we can possibly achieve.
We have been operating informally in temporary borrowed buildings for three years now while waiting for the permits to build and run a school. Although there is nothing tangible to see here, the transformation taking place in the new generation is something to behold. Whereas most of the adults around here did not have the advantage of secondary school education, their children are dazzling them with their new knowledge, confidence and wider view of the world.
Now we finally have all the permits necessary to operate a primary school, we are entering the construction phase of the new purpose-built 400-student buildings on a perfect plot of land next to where we live on the farm.
Building could take 6-9 months and our goal is to open in the the academic year starting January 2020. However, financing is not fully in place. We have sufficient funds to get the foundations and super structure of the 2-story classroom block completed. So we are proceeding in faith and keeping our needs in prayer.