Day 5 & 6

On Tuesday morning we received a visit from Stephanie and 3 of her colleagues from Bridges to Prosperity. They are an non-profit organisation working across the world to built footbridges that connect communities together. This allows locals access to education, healthcare and gives them the ability to trade between communities. We are hoping to be able to visit 2 of their bridges during our time in Rwanda.

Unfortunately our bus driver was not available in the afternoonso the school visit we had planned had to be rescheduled to another day. This allowed time for us to work on finishing the posters for the upcoming school visits. We also took this time to hold a CV building workshop for the Rwandan girls. For most of them this was the first time they have made a CV and therefore we felt this was a beneficial activity.

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On Wednesday we spent some time in the morning to do our washing…by hand…in a bucket. Shockingly, the girls were not quite used to this, and a poor local eventually felt sorry for the girls struggling over their washing, and offered a helping hand.

We then visited the SOS Technology school, which specialises in electronics, computer science and networking. This was a great opportunity to speak to older students, help them to decide about future university courses and discuss how their skills related to engineering.

 

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂

Day 4

We started off the day with the project opening ceremony where the Principal of the College of Science and Technology (CST) expressed his appreciation and reiterated the need for the project at the University of Rwanda. The Deputy Vice Chancellor informed us of the current statistics surrounding young women studying STEM subjects. In High School 50% of the pupils taking maths and sciences are female, however when they reach university this number drastically decreases to 22%. We also received praise and encouragement from two ambassadors from RAWISE, the Rwandan Association for Women in Science and Engineering. Josephine Malonza, the project coordinator between FemEng and the University of Rwanda, has given us the target of reaching 2,019 pupils in 2019.

Later on in the afternoon we decided to go to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. This year marks the 25th anniversary since the devastating tragedy happened in Rwanda. Unlike previous years, the entire group were willing to attend the visit despite the strong and raw emotions associated with the genocide. In April 1994, approximately one million civilians were massacred in a period of 100 days. Colonialisation created a divide of the population in Rwanda into two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and Tutsi. The Hutus aimed to wipe out each and every member of the Tutsi minority group under strong political influence through propaganda. Moderate Hutu’s were also killed by their friends, families and neighbours.

We were all greatly saddened hearing the stories of survivors and the shear brutality of the systematic massacre. Josephine gave us a tour of the memorial and provided great support to all team members. We encourage everyone to look more into the genocide, as such a tragedy should never happen again.

Following the visit, we took the evening to reflect upon the day and rest.

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂

 

Day 3

As today was Sunday, after breakfast we attended the local church St Etienne with a few of the Rwandan girls. Some of the other girls travelled back home to pray with their family. As always in Rwanda we were given a very warm welcome, all thoroughly enjoying singing along with the congregation. Some of us even shed a tear at the powerful service!

We then had a nice walk into the town where we bought materials that we would use to make posters in the afternoon. Once back at the accommodation, we had some down time with the Rwandan girls where we watched a film.

One of the schools we reached out to, Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux, are still doing their exams but were keen to learn more about engineering. We created a poster (that we were very proud of if we do say so ourselves…) that included a brief explanation about all of the engineering disciplines offered at the University of Rwanda. Hannah and Lydie, the team leaders, are excited to deliver the poster as well as a presentation to the school pupils tomorrow morning before breakfast.

For dinner, we wandered to a different area of Kigali to a local restaurant where we had a lovely meal. The portions were very generous… we were stuffed! Some of the locals were keen to socialise and chat to us, even offering to help us explore Kigali later on in the trip!

After heading back to the accommodation, we filled up our buckets with water in preparation for tomorrows showers. Since our days are so busy, we are always in bed by 10pm (our 20’s are starting to get to us).

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂

Day 2

As some of the Rwandan girls were still busy with exams, breakfast was our first opportunity to meet them and prepare for another busy school visit.

Our visit to La Colombiere Primary School was very successful. We split into groups to deliver workshops to 5 primary 5 classes in different engineering disciplines. The pupils were extremely enthusiast about us being there and had advanced and interesting questions for us. One little girl made sure to come up afterwards to tell us she was dying to become a mechanical engineer when she grows up, as did many of the pupils by the end of the visit.

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Now that the whole team had arrived, we spent the free evening to participate in some team bonding and culture exchange. The Glasgow girls taught the Rwandan team ceilidh dancing, while the Rwandan team taught us traditional African dance… it may take some practice.

The Rwandan girls even had a little surprise gift for us!! We were all given handmade African earrings and a Rwandan souvenir made from bark from a banana tree!!!

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂

 

Arrival & Day 1

Upon arrival in Kigali we received a warm welcome at the airport before being taken to our accommodation. We were then helped to settle in and given lots of fresh fruit for supper. After a short tour of the accommodation we went to bed early to ensure we were well rested for the next day.

We woke up at 6:30am to shower and get ready for breakfast. After a 10-minute walk through the campus we arrived at the church where we will have breakfast and lunch each day. Some of us enjoyed the African tea…some of us didn’t.

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We headed back to the campus for an introductory meeting with Josephine where we discussed the plans for the next few days. A school visit had been planned for 2 o’clock so we split ourselves into 3 groups to plan for the workshops we would present. Initially, we started with a Civil, Mechanical and Biomedical workshop to show to the school pupils.

After lunch, Gratien, the bus driver for our time here picked us up from the university to take us to the first school.

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The visit was very successful with the pupils taking a keen interest in the workshops. We had time to spare before we left so we sat down and chatted to them all. We found out that many of them would now like to go into further education studying engineering.

Once we arrived back to the accommodation, we had our first bit of free time to relax after the long day and spend some time bonding with the Rwandan girls.

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019 🙂

 

FemEng in Rwanda 2019!

Welcome to our blog for FemEng in Rwanda 2019! A completely student led project which aims to expose as many young females as possible to the prospects of a career in Engineering and Science in their futures. The project is a collaboration between female engineers at the University of Glasgow and University of Rwanda. We will work together  in order to create and provide interactive engineering and science based workshops for high school pupils across Kigali. This blog is where we will be documenting our time over in Rwanda.

All of the team are extremely excited for our departure early tomorrow morning and are finishing off packing for the 3 weeks we will be away.

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This project would not have been made possible without the generosity of individuals making donations through the GoFundMe page and also sponsorship from Engineering companies.

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We would like to say a massive thank you from the whole team and hope you look forward to following our journey over the next few weeks!

The FemEng in Rwanda Team 2019