Cindi’s Hope, founded in 2011 by Dr. Cindi Mendoza and Mary Owinyo, is a rescue center established to serve young Kenyan girls who have been physically or sexually abused. The center offers a safe haven where these girls are housed, fed, clothed and educated. Originally serving just 14 girls at one location in 2009, the program has now expanded to two locations in Kenya, serving nearly 200 children. An additional site in the Eastern Province’s Burgesera District of Rwanda has also been established–the first of seven schools to be built in Rwanda over the next five years. The school in Rwanda opened in January 2019 serving 100 students in the primary grades, and as of September 2019, serves 186 students. The children served at the various Cindi’s Hope sites are refugees from many countries, including Ethiopia, Somali, South Sudanese, Rwanda and Kenya. More sites are desperately needed, as the few current schools are beyond capacity at a 64:1 student to teacher ratio. That need is expected to continue, as 47% of the population is under the age of 15 following the 1994 genocide.
The program utilizes Direct Instruction as part of their Pre-unit through class 3 curriculum in order to more efficiently and effectively teach reading, language, and math, despite the fact that most incoming students are not Native English speakers. This programming allows teachers to best assist students who previously had large gaps in their learning and development.
The grant funds–nearly $50,000 since 2016–have assisted Cindi’s Hope in training Rwandan teachers in Direct Instruction programs–including Direct Instruction for Spoken English (DISE)–in an English speaking environment before sending the teachers back to the sites to teach. “We at Cindi’s Hope are so grateful for the continued support and expertise the Engelmann Foundation has provided over the last 6 years. What a terrific partner in educating children for the next generation! As the schools in Rwanda and Kenya continue to expand, we are excited to be able to train more teachers and students using DI,” says Dr. Mendoza. The foundation is proud to support the work of Dr. Mendoza and her colleagues as she continues to make a profound impact on the children of Kenya and Rwanda.