Jeanne's message


 My name is Jeanne Willis. I am a retired schoolteacher from Hughesville Pennsylvania, USA. I earned my bachelors at Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pa. My major was Early Childhood Education.  I taught in schools in Florida, 20 years, Quito Ecuador, 1 year, St Croix in the Virgin Islands 6 years.  When I am home I work, as a substitute teacher in Montgomery Elementary School near my home in PA. Teaching for 26 years has been a great experience. As a retired person I hope to teach for many more years.

My first visit to Urukundo was in January 2016.  I stayed for four months teaching the students and working with the teachers at the Urukundo Learning Center Preschool. The time went much to fast. In my off time from the school I was engaged with the 26 kids under 10 years at Urukundo Home for children.  What an amazing place. I enjoyed them and participated with the kids in dancing, creativity and singing. It was interesting watching them solve their problems and helping each other out.  They truly are family.

I am so thankful how Mama Arlene has worked so hard to expand the Learning Center to include community children in the education system. The 566 students from the community and 26 from the home are getting a good education. The school and the foundation provide many jobs helping the economy in the area.

I returned to Urukundo for a second time last month, “September” and I intend to be here for the graduation in November 2017. It will be exciting to see the children I taught on my first visit graduate from Kindergarten to Primary school. The graduation is special as the little ones wear caps and gowns and receive a diploma, just like University kids. They are so proud.

If you love children, love to teach and want to make a difference in lives of vulnerable children you would feel right at home in Urukundo Learning Center in Rwanda, Africa where every care is for the child. You would be most welcome to a life changine experience. It makes my day when students come running to me take my hand and in English say  “GOOD MORNING TEACHER.” Their precious smiles and bright shinny eyes grab my heart. They share so much affection and want to learn. Oh what joy I feel when they recite poems or sing songs I have taught them.

Working with the teachers especially in a second language (English) is also rewarding as I am able to see the results as they share what I have taught them with the children. The teachers welcome and so appreciate new skills and new ideas other teachers from other countries bring to share with them. Coming back the second time I am able to evaluate the changes taking place because I and others have been here. How rewarding to see the school growing, teachers blooming and the children progressing.

It is also rewarding when a teacher seeks me out and asks for help and invites me to their class room. They so appreciate my help.  I often wonder what I have to offer and God gives me the answer most often. We come here with what we have and God provides the rest.

Mama has many goals for Urukundo Learning Center and Urukundo Sewing Center. Yes, so much love and compassion are involved.

Take it from one who has been here. If your heart is for children and you want to make a difference your next trip should be to:

Urukundo Village, working at Urukundo Learning Center , touching the lives of children who just need the opportunity to have a firn foundation in education.

Education is the future for these kids.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you.

Jeanne Willis