WCE Names First Teacher Fellow
June 3, 2019
WCE has named Beatrice Nyinawingeli of Remera, Rwanda as the first WCE Inspire Girls Teacher Fellow. She will be granted laptops and $200 to develop a sharable teacher resource from her project, which trains young mothers in computers and sewing.
Nyinawingeli has been a teacher in Remera since 1993, rotating between rural villages in eastern Rwanda. In 2014, she worked with the Amahoro Foundation, a local NGO, to establish Peace Keepers Academy, which serves 120 students from preschool to third grade. She is the school’s head teacher and instructs students ages 6-9.
Through the years, Nyinawingeli has found that many young girls in Remera lack proper access technology resources. In addition, many girls drop out because of pregnancy. Combining these two factors, girls experience difficulties raising their children because they cannot get jobs or familial support.
¨Small-scale business mothers also lack information to improve businesses because of no initial knowledge of technology,” Nyinawingeli said. “Students in primary and secondary schools fear to pursue career about technology due to the lack of nearby and affordable computer centers.”
Seeing her concerns, the WCE Field Associate in Rwanda, Daniel Turikumwe, recommended Beatrice to pilot a WCE Inspire Girls project. For the past few years, she and her students have been collaborating with US teacher Carole Zei and her students in McHenry, Illinois. They use an app to share their students’ daily lives, future hopes, and plans for changing the world. Though the two groups experienced various logistical challenges–language barriers, different time zones, limited computer and Internet access–they have found great value in their collaboration.
“I have had the honor of partnering with Beatrice to help our young girls learn about how technology can help them in their lives, now and in the future.” Zei said. “She is always willing to try something new and is constantly experimenting with new technology to find tools that are in the best interest of her students.”
Wanting to expand upon her current work, Nyinawingeli submitted a comprehensive Inspire Girls proposal to WCE. In this proposal, she outlined her plan for an Amahoro Foundation Center that would serve two main female demographics: students and single mothers. For students, the center will provide technology resources and run pen-pal programs, teaching them basic computer skills and inspiring them to pursue ICE and STEM careers. For single mothers, the center will help them gain basic computer skills useful when seeking employment. For women who want to start their own businesses, the center will provide sewing machines, hair dressing tools, and craft equipment in addition to entrepreneurship classes.
Jacqueline Terasconi, WCE´s Inspire Girls Manager, reviewed Nyinawingeli’s proposal. She believes it is a beneficial idea, both for the women in Rwanda and the content created for WCE.
“This could be a resource that shows young students how technology can already fit into things that already exist in their world,” Terasconi said. “This could begin to open their minds to the possibilities of technology beyond whatever conceptions they already have.”
Though she has already completed incredible work, Nyinawingeli is far from done. In the next five years, she hopes to train 1,000 women. By providing access to technology and vocational training, she hopes that they will be able to support themselves in a way that aligns with the realities of the 21st century.
Read more about WCE’s Inspire Girls project here.