Late last Thursday night the Government of Rwanda announced modifications in the nationwide lockdown that was scheduled to be in place through April 30. Although the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise steadily, overall numbers remain fairly low and cases are well-managed. As anticipated, the Government announced some easing of the strict lockdown measures, enabling some activities to resume while continuing to enforce Covid-19 preventive measures including hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of masks in public. While some activities will be permitted to resume beginning Monday, May 4, it was announced that all schools will remain closed until September.
Sister Laetitia, the new Head of School, is busy! She has been working with faculty to design and implement distance learning. She also partnered with local companies, Mara Phones and Airtel, and the Maranyundo Initiative to provide low-cost smartphones and free internet to connect vulnerable families to the MGS e-learning platform and the social support of the MGS community
These smartphones enable all the girls to join their fellow students in the MGS e-learning experience. The MGS faculty continue to work with their internal interactive e-learning platform TWIGE which connects to the REB e-learning platform and national curriculum. Class-specific chat groups are in the process of being created, faculty are checking in with students, audio lessons have been uploaded and students are reading, listening, chatting, completing assignments and getting feedback. This interaction is so important for their social-emotional well-being! As the faculty become more adept with the tools, the experience will continue to evolve.
Sr. Laetitia and her team have also been providing families with food and funds to help meet basic needs during this challenging time. This is so important! Despite the slight easing of movement and activities announced tonight, international borders remain closed except for essential goods, and vast numbers of people remain out of work. It will be a gradual process to re-open the economy and society and many sectors will continue to have serious setbacks for quite some time.
We are supporting Sister Laetitia in these efforts through the Maranyundo Hardship Fund and on May 5, 2020, we are participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, which is taking place as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an abundance of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.