Dear friends,

I wish you the best of times over the holiday period and hope you enjoy a happy, successful, healthy and stress-free year in 2018.

I attach news of the end of term celebrations for the nursery children. There will be a few more letters in January. I have had to take some very necessary time out to deal with matters other than the project, but will be back in full swing in the New Year I hope.

Remembering with gratitude your help and encouragement for me and our work in Kigali. We simply could achieve nothing without you all.

Thank you, Meg

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Nursery end of term

10 years ago we had our first end of year celebration. It was a bit haphazard, we started late, we did not remember stuff but it went reasonably well. 10 years on and we are so organised!

We had a lovely day, everyone in the right place at the right time, happy children, happy staff and proud parents.

For those who have not seen this before, the children in each class perform something to show what they have learnt, we sing songs, the teachers explain the reports and the ‘top five’ receive a small gift for doing well.

Ready to start, Nursery one on one side of the terrace, Nursery 2 on the other, parents in the centre.

The smaller children had prepared songs and dances, small sketches and demonstrations of writing and counting. The audience was impressed by the level of English.

Before the reports are given and the top students given their gifts, there are other important awards to be made. Rwandan state schools concentrate on the academics but we try to widen the curriculum for the children to show them that other things are important, for example, hygiene. The children are taught about basic hygiene, so important where it is a challenge sometimes to find water and soap. Toilet training is also an important part of the first term in Nursery. Each month the children vote for a child to receive a hygiene award, someone who is always clean and smart. At the end of the year the chosen children receive a bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and face cloth as a gift for being chosen by their peers.

Those of you who know me well know how much I value art and children’s drawings. The children who come into the nursery have little or no experience of drawing and it takes a while to get used to crayons, colours and design. Each term the children are asked to colour in an outline picture and also produce a picture of their own. Inevitably there are some lovely surprises and this year there was a very special picture from a very young boy in the nursery. Class ‘winners’ were given a notebook and some crayons to take home.

A really detailed drawing for a 6 yr old.

And then we had the presentation of the reports and those with the highest scores in the assessments. The younger children in Nursery 1 received a notebook and pencil, the older children in Nursery 2 each received a stationery set and a notebook.

Thanks to donations from friends in Britain we were able to give everyone a toothbrush – much prized and happily received.

Following Rwandan tradition anyone who wanted to say something was invited to come forward.

This is a lovely time when I can see just how much what we are doing is valued by the community.

I know only too well, and so do they that we cannot do anything without your support for us and the work we do. They know the children have been given a chance they could only dream of.

And I am totally dependent on our Rwandan staff, led by Epiphanie, they have all come a long way since we began ten years ago and they would be the first to acknowledge that their lives have changed also.

Thank you one and all for your love and support, we work so much more willingly knowing we have so many friends out there in the world.

Wishing you love, peace and happiness in your live,