President Robert Pearigen And A Delegation From Millsaps College Will Visit Isaro Foundation Activities In Rwanda This May.
Jackson City, March 14th, 2014
“Rwanda’s efforts, and successes, overcoming adversity in recent years have inspired people and nations around the world. This May, we look forward to seeing Rwanda in person, first-hand” reads a statement from the office of the President of Millsaps College, a highly ranked school in the South of the United States of America. Millsaps College is home to four Rwandan Presidential Scholars.
President Pearigen has accepted the invitation from the Isaro Foundation to visit Isaro Foundation activities in Rwanda. Along with the Millsaps Academic Dean Keith Dunn, President Pearigen will be accompanied by a delegation from Millsaps College, the birth place of the Isaro Foundation.
The Isaro Foundation was founded in 2011 on Millsaps College campus by Jean Leon Iragena. The goal was to start an organization that would lead a campaign of improving reading and writing skills in Rwanda. Jean Leon knew he could not embark on the journey without the help and support of other Rwandan students in the United States. He sought assistance from colleagues, and the Isaro Foundation flourished—ranking as the fifth most successful nonprofit organization started by students in the United States in 2012. At the occasion of this recognition, Jean Leon showed a desire to aim higher: “we will keep working together to even succeed at higher levels.”
Last November, the Isaro Foundation revealed its plan to send 42,000 books to Rwanda within the following 3 months. The very beginning of the next month, the first 40-feet container of books arrived in Kigali and was presented to the public in a press conference. In the press conference Olivier Ntaganzwa, the Chief Coordinating Officer of Isaro Foundation in Rwanda emphasized that the Isaro Foundation “will do everything in our means to make Rwandans read”. In less than three years, the Isaro Foundation has been changing Rwandans’ lives in different ways: more than 50,000 printed books, 10,000 electronic books on 30 Kindles — e-reading devices — have been acquired to be donated to students and schools; 30 teachers from all districts in Rwanda have been trained on creative writing, and around 84 reading and writing clubs have been created in schools.
The work of the Isaro Foundation team has impressed almost everyone in the education sector in Rwanda. “As educators, we are proud to see that young Rwandans studying abroad can do such a project and realize it in such a short period of time” pointed out Sister Helene, the director of Lycee Notre Dame de Citeaux. “We have partnerships with big organizations and this is a result of our organization’s effort to make a difference” said Thierry Tuyishimire, the Public Relations officer within the Isaro Foundation.
President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda has himself, through his official Twitter account, endorsed the work of the Isaro Foundation. He tweeted “Congratulations for your noble contribution to education, the main pillar of development!” The President later tweeted Jean Leon thanking him for the good work and promised him support.
“Without Millsaps College, Isaro Foundation would have not been created. They support me, they support Isaro Foundation – and that is not something you can easily get at any other college. Millsaps is unique,” Jean Leon told the New Times in an interview. “This visit itself is a veritable gesture of such an incredible relationship that Isaro Foundation has and will continue to have with this school – I call it home,” he added.
President Pearigen mentioned that “Millsaps College is honored to have been a part of the development of the Isaro Foundation, and we look forward to celebrating Isaro Foundation’s work for many years to come.” The delegation he leads is excited to visit Rwanda and is looking forward to do other things, including visiting historical and tourist sites in Rwanda.
Part of the visit will be a commemoration of Isaro Foundation success. The ceremony will take place later in May. Students and writers will be celebrated on the same occasion in front of a good number of guests which will include some Rwandan high governmental officials. The Isaro Foundation team in Rwanda revealed that there are many big things to look forward to this visit.
Photo: President Robert Pearigen and Jean Leon Iragena
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