Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology enjoys the privilege of educating and inspiring 275 dedicated and passionate young women through our innovative model of education that combines strong college-prep academics, along with health, social and emotional development and extracurricular programs. We holistically develop our students passions, interests, leadership, competitive and entrepreneurial spirits, and athletic pursuits. This is made possible by all the leadership, administrators, staff and students who give 100% every day to the Gashora community!
One of these such leaders is Gisele Tunga, one of our support staff who wears many hats! Enjoy this post written by Gisele.
I have been at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST), since the school opened in January 2011, as the administrative assistant and nurse. Before coming to Gashora, I graduated from the Kigali Independent University (ULK) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Social Sciences and worked as an advisor at the orphanages in Rilima, Rwanda where my role was to work, guide and encourage the orphans to reach their dream.
The inaugural class had 90 girls; but enrolling students at a brand-new school that had no track record was a great challenge; one that we no longer have! We had to convince students and their families to take a risk on GGAST, explaining that it was going to be a high performing STEM school for the brightest students. What we heard by most students was, “Why should I go to Gashora?” These young women had the opportunity to go to schools that they already knew, why take a risk on a new school. We struggled with this for the first couple years, especially with girls who lived in remote parts of the country. We would call the top performing student in each district to invite them to attend and they often questioned traveling far from home. Knowing the value of the opportunity, it was our job to be convincing and do our best to get the girls to accept the offer.
Now we have 400 applications per year, and our reputation reaches across the country and continent. It has been amazing seeing the students and teachers grow this school into one of the best schools in Rwanda, not only in academic achievement (top 3% of the country) but in whole girl development.
Some Gashora alumnae have written after they arrive at college and thank me for giving them the opportunity to attend our school. They express so much gratitude and appreciation. It brings tears to my eyes when they say that the day I called to invite them to Gashora was the day they were blessed by God. We now have alumnae studying in 25 countries around the world and have graduated 524 young women, future leaders of Rwanda.
My responsibilities at Gashora Girls Academy has grown and changed through the years. I continue to assist in the admissions and enrollment process, determining students' financial aid packages. I also support the organization of school field trips, communicate with parents, and having one on one meeting with students supporting their different struggles. I have shared beautiful moments with the girls during these one on one sessions. I realize that it is a great honor to be a part of a solution, and a part of their lives.
Additionally, I have the opportunity to mentor the Dear Doctor Rwanda (DDR) Club. In this club, we work around the clock trying to make a difference in the community. Some of the activities include proper nutritional workshops and tutoring Dihiro School students in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Within the school, we have focused on primary health such as hand washing and basic healthy habits.
I also oversee the Aerobics program that is contributing to physical health and fitness of our students. More generally, I work closely with the Dean of Students to promote Whole Girl Education which is the philosophy upon the school is founded.
I have grown into a strong believer of girl empowerment and the magic that educating a girl child can have on a society. From working closely with Gashora students, I know that each of them is the complete package of what the nation needs- inventive, innovative and competent girls. I am inspired so much by my girls’ confidence, initiative, risk-taking, and creativity. My favorite part of Gashora is admitting students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and watching them be transformed by the Gashora experience to achieve their full potential and dreams.
As Mother Teresa said “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I am grateful to be a part of the Gashora community; it is where I live my passion to do all things with love and where I enjoy not only what I call work but my second home.