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A reading revolution in Rwanda

“Now I am always in the top five in my class,” says 10-year-old Wilson.

He’s been going to a reading club in Rwanda run by his uncle Ildephonse, and says it’s helping him do better at school. 

Reading Club Hero: Ildephonse

lldephonse is a brilliant teacher. He decided to train as a reading club leader with Save the Children because he wanted to give children the opportunities to learn and study that he’d missed out on.

“It is my passion to provide them with knowledge,” he says.

But there have been challenges. Soon after he started the training, Ildephonse realised the weather was going to be a big obstacle. When it was raining or too hot, it quickly became difficult for the children to read or learn outside.

So he decided to do something about it.

Ildephonse built an annex on to the side of his house, by himself, all so that children would always have somewhere to read. And now they do.

Ildephonse, Reading Club Leader pictured inside the reading club, Gicumbi District, Rwanda.

Ildephonse, Reading Club Leader with Wilson, his pupil and nephew. Pictured inside the famous reading club, Gicumbi District, Rwanda.

Ildephonse is always creating – the reading club is filled with handmade signs and toys, from TVs to mobile phones, glasses and instruments.

Thanks to you, Ildephonse is helping children in his community develop a love of reading, so they can go on to learn, study and fulfil their potential.

He's really passionate about his work and wants to leave a legacy, not just for his village, but the entire country. A reading revolution.

Ildephonse completed the two-week 'Lets Read' training in 2016 along with 34 aspiring educators from the same region.

Three years later, he’s still teaching. The club runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but the room that Ildephonse built is always available for children to come and read.

Ildephonse completed the two week 'Lets Read' training in 2016 along with 34 aspiring educators from the same region.

He started implementing his training immediately, working with the community to teach families the importance of sending their children to the reading club and in getting an education.

The club runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays but the room that Ildephonse built is always available for children to come and read.

During the four-year Let’s Read project, we trained local partners who then trained local communities and created wonderful teachers, just like Ildephonse.

With your support we were able to...
  • train local partners to bring ‘Let’s Read’ training to many more communities,
  • inspire and develop more wonderful teachers like Ildephonse,
  • create teacher training that addresses local needs and can be translated for local communities,
  • provide care and support to children who needed it.
Charitine, Ildephonse's granddaughter, holds the toy car he made, Gicumbi District, Rwanda.


Pay in your Christmas Jumper Day fundraising

Standing above, is Ildephonse's grandaugher, Charitine, who performed this poem about her mum and dad during the reading club.


"Lovely mother,
You whom I loved from my birth
For sure I m thankful to those who allowed me to have you
When you gave birth to me, I was very small, my skin was very soft
You held me with much happiness
You protected me from coldness and hunger
And me Rubyogo I grew up
Lovely mother, I will take care of you in your old ages
That’s what I promise you lovely mother
Nice father, Let me sing out your praises
The pillar of our home, the provider my life
I came to join other small children
It’s thanks to you father
My mother can prove me wrong if I am lying."