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Sunday17November2019
Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre
Saturday, 08 December 2018 Written by Valerie Kae Ken

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Well, once again here I am in Rwanda at Padri Vjeko Centre! I arrived October 4th and “hit the ground running,” as the saying goes... There’s never a dull moment here... And so much to do!...

The new curriculum that we have been trying to deliver for the past couple of years is proving to be very, very challenging! The organization of the content, the essential information that is simply missing, and the over-ambitious subject matter results in chaos when trying to fulfill the requirements of the syllabus.

But we are doing our best... we have no other choice! I have been assisting the teachers at every turn, trying to help them to teach according to the curriculum, but also to teach other information that has been omitted.

Okay, enough complaining... it is what it is! I spent a few weeks teaching pattern cutting (creating paper patterns according to a particular design) to the second year students... all fifty-three of them. But can you imagine? The curriculum project actually called for each student to create a wedding dress, a bride’s maid dress and a flower girl dress!... all this for students, most of whom cannot afford a pencil, let alone all the expensive material this project would have used!!!

So I modified the assessment and we used ‘half size’ patterns in order to save fabric. The students did their best and I am pleased to say that we fulfilled the requirement. They seemed to really enjoy the learning experience with a few who quickly grasped the principles of pattern cutting. I have high hopes that someday some of them will turn out to be the creative fashion designers of a future Rwanda!

I have also been refining the patterns we use for the beginning students to learn progressively (very important) from simple to more difficult sewing operations. It seems that every time they were copied (or modified) by some well meaning, but experience-limited teacher, the shapes of the patterns changed considerably and now need correction... all 87 of them... smiles!

As well, I have been asked to design a curriculum for a level 6 and level 7 in the Tailoring program. This is the level of a Polytechnical Institution. After speaking with a gentleman from the Rwandan Government division of WDA (Workforce Development Authority), it seems they are in need of a program that can turn out persons capable of designing and making patterns for the garment industry of Rwanda. So I have put considerable effort into creating a program proposal that has to include upgrading students’ knowledge (the education that is missing from the present tailoring curriculum). It also placed emphasis on advanced pattern cutting techniques and at the end of the program, each student will design a clothing line that can be exhibited at a ‘Made in Rwanda’ exhibition each year. If approved by WDA, we will begin with this program at our school, Padri Vjeko Centre. It will be the first of its kind in the country, so wish us luck!

Meanwhile, our Kindergarten is coming along quite well. We had two visitors come recently to Padri Vjeko Centre. One – a German woman who is the principle of a primary school and another – a Croatian woman who is a psychologist who deals with children (victims of abuse) who proved to be equally terrific in terms of pitching in and helping the kindergarten teachers improve their teaching methods. These are the kind of visitors that we love!! So a thousand thanks to Angela and Mia!

Our teachers in all sections of Padri Vjeko Centre are also very busy... it is the end of the year and a myriad of reports have to be filled out to satisfy the Government requirements. And to complicate things further…. a number of our teachers have been called away to attend a ‘Trainer’s” program, right in the middle of the end of year chaos! So our teachers are doing ‘double duty’... trying to get their paperwork done and also to attend their classes from Monday to Friday for the next month and a half.

This is how it is here… like I said before, “Never a dull moment!” We manage to get one foot forward and are set back three paces by something that comes up unexpectedly.

But we are indeed progressing! We know this because our past students have been dropping by to let us know that they have found employment and are getting on with their futures. And this is what keeps us going - the fact that what we do is very meaningful and gives the youth that have passed through our gates a chance to build a better life for themselves!

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

Challenges at Padri Vjeko Centre

 
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