Kari has faith and hope in teachers

Kari has dedicated herself to Rwandan school
Kari has dedicated herself to Rwandan school
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A pioneering teacher has launched a ground-breaking initiative to help improve the quality of lessons both here and in Africa.

Kari Spence selected 18 young teachers from the UK to help out at a school in Africa – and in turn take some valuable life lessons back to their own pupils.

The 26-year-old is now looking for the next group of enthusiastic teachers to take to the The Faith and Hope Academy school in Rwanda, in July next year.

Kari, from North Berwick, runs a charity called Together in Sport which works with the school in the village of Gako, in the rural district of Bugasera, Rwanda.

Many of the pupils are living in extreme poverty – under the shadow of the 1994 genocide which saw the mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutus.

In a new teaching initiative, Kari selected a group of 18 fully-qualified teachers to come and work in the school for two weeks over the summer holidays.

The group spent their time in the classroom and the sports fields, covering topics such as sex education, gender balance, numeracy and English and ended the two weeks by delivering a sports festival for all 500 pupils.

Kari, who works as the PE specialist at Niddrie Mill Primary School, said: “Taking a group of teachers out to Faith and Hope has been a dream of mine for a long time. It was above and beyond my expectations and I couldn’t have asked for a better team of volunteers.

“This has not just been about passing on valuable teaching tips and guidance to the academy, it has been a two-way process – and these 18 teachers will be going back to their own schools with a slightly different perspective on life which can only enhance the way they approach lessons in their own classrooms, benefiting the pupils they teach here in the UK.”

The group of volunteers also raised more than £12,000 which means the charity can start building a well at the school.

Currently, families in the village of Gako are walking more than 5km to the nearest lake for drinking water, which is full of disease and home to both hippos and crocodiles.

This is the latest in a long line of initiatives that Kari has been involved in with the school.

She started the project after a life-changing school trip to the country when she was at North Berwick High School in 2009 and in 2012 set up the project Together in Sport, Rwanda.

Through the support of five dedicated trustees, Together in Sport became a registered charity last March which has enabled the charity to grow and increase the support they are able to provide to The Faith and Hope Academy.

They have built a kitchen so that pupils get a hot meal, started a Friends of Faith and Hope, where individuals from the UK are a part of making a difference to the school through monthly donations, raised money to buy land to build sports facilities for the pupils and is currently raising £20,000 to build a fresh water well.