(Guest post by Tiffany Peters. Read more in the next issue of the Hope Haven Rwanda Magazine!)
Two students make their way to the open-air main hall at Hope Haven Rwanda, stepping around puddles of rainwater and laughing. It is the rainy season in Rwanda. Alice and Fulgence seem to be two normal Hope Haven students weathering the rain and studying hard, but they are not quite normal.
Alice and Fulgence are newly-minted secondary students and each recently received astonishing news—they both earned perfect scores on Rwanda’s national exams, putting them at the peak of all Hope Haven’s Division One students.
During an interview, 14-year-old Alice explained the Primary Leaving Exam scoring system. To attain a perfect score on the exam, the student answers questions in multiple subject categories. The categories—Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Kinyarwanda, and English—are scored in divisions, with Division One equivalent to an A+ in the typical American grading system. While 100% of their Hope Haven classmates scored in the top 5% of the country of Rwanda, Fulgence and Alice scored even higher! Their scores landed in the highest division in every category of the exam. In the Rwandan national education system, they are now identified as “perfect scorers.”
Fulgence nodded his head at Alice’s explanation. At thirteen years old, Fulgence has attended Hope Haven for his entire education. On the first day Hope Haven began accepting students ten years ago, Fulgence’s grandmother brought her then three-year-old grandson to stand in line under the shade of the school’s acacia tree. Fulgence was the third student to sign up for Hope Haven Rwanda. He has grown as much as the school and is now a sharp young man who dreams of becoming a surgeon.
Fulgence lives in the community with his grandmother Julienne in a mud-brick house with no running water. He is the youngest of four siblings and does not have a father figure in his life.
According to Priscillah, Hope Haven’s Director of Families, “His parents separated, the father went on his own and the mother went on her own, so the children were split among other family members. The grandmother decided to take care of three-year-old Fulgence.”
Pricillah remembers little Fulgence as one of the first students to join what has grown into a ten-year legacy of quality education at Hope Haven Rwanda, all for the kids who need it most. Despite the hardships he has already faced in his thirteen years, Fulgence can now see his dream of helping others through medicine is within his reach.
When Jason asked Fulgence who he looks up to for inspiration, Fulgence named his Hope Angel, Susan Chad. Both Fulgence and his grandmother Julienne are grateful for everything Susan and countless others have invested to build up their community.
Student success at Hope Haven Rwanda is a testament to the beautiful union of quality Christian education and underprivileged students who are yearning for a chance to change their stories. Fulgence and Alice will not be the last perfect scorers at Hope Haven Rwanda but are helping to form a legacy of excellence that will inspire students for years to come.