The Maranyundo Girls School is an independent boarding school for 180 middle school students and by January 2017 180 high school students, located in Nyamata, in the Bugesera District of Rwanda.
The mission of the Maranyundo Girls School is to offer students not simply access to education but academic excellence. It provides degree-qualified teachers, small classes, teacher-enrichment opportunities and a beautiful, safe, well- equipped campus in which to learn. A secular school, open and welcoming to students of all faiths, it is run by the Benebikira Sisters, a Rwandan order of Roman Catholic nuns who have a long history of providing quality education to the poor.
The school was founded on the belief that all children, no matter their personal circumstances, can achieve excellence. And they have. Within a few years of its opening in 2008, The Maranyundo Girls School – which accepts half its students from economically vulnerable families — has achieved national standing as one of the top schools in the country.
Currently a middle school for grades S1-S3 it is poised to double capacity and become a full secondary School of Science and Technology with the addition of its final upper secondary class in January, 2017.
A DEEPLY COMMITTED PARTNERSHIP
The Maranyundo Girls School is the product of a remarkable collaboration between educators and visionaries in the US and Rwanda. Promoting a new model of philanthropic partnership, in 2010 the Boston-based Maranyundo Initiative took the unusual step of transferring full ownership and operation of the school to Rwandan leadership. It entrusted the mission of access and excellence to the Benebikira Congregation whose deeply held belief in the potential of every child to achieve the highest standard of excellence uniquely qualified it for this role.
Terms of this partnership are specified in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed in 2010 and renewed in 2014. This MOU details The Maranyundo Initiative’s intent to raise funds to support a significant portion of the schools annual operating budget as long as mutually agreed upon standards of excellence are maintained or exceeded. Evaluations of excellence are conducted regularly.
Today, the partnership continues to flourish as we work together to expand the school and explore ways to broaden its impact to the surrounding community and beyond.
BLENDING THE BEST OF AMERICAN AND RWANDAN PEDAGOGY
The Maranyundo Girls School offers its students an intensive program of study that infuses the Rwandan national curriculum with internationally accepted “best practices” in student-centered pedagogy to foster critical thinking and leadership skills.
Teachers from the US volunteer their time to assist teachers in learning additional skills for teaching. Tufts University, with the leadership of Board Member Linda Beardsley, plays an important role in evaluating the teaching practices and consulting on teaching and learning methodologies in STEM education for girls.
A JOYFUL COMMUNITY
Students and staff live and work together on a beautiful campus organized in traditional Rwandan style, with dormitories, a library, media center and classrooms clustered around a central oval. The buildings are constructed of locally sourced clay bricks, creating a softly hued campus that seems to spring naturally from the surrounding landscape.
The culture of the Maranyundo Girls School is one of family and community. It is a caring environment with high standards of responsibility and accountability for students and teachers alike.
Students come from a diverse mix of backgrounds, income levels, family circumstances and academic preparation. Special care is taken to create a community of equals from this mix.
Students dress alike, are treated alike and operate in a structure that encourages collaboration and sharing. All are held to the same high standards of achievement, helping each other to reach this goal.
The culture of this special school is exemplified in its motto emblazoned proudly throughout the campus:
Respect, Responsibility, and Leadership