In early 2018, a new preschool opened its doors in Rwanda, thanks to Bitcoin donations. This preschool built by Bitcoin serves nearly 120 students, aged three to six years old, in the eastern district of Bugesera. Paxful, a peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, and Zam Zam, a nonprofit organization focused on providing fresh water and education to villages worldwide, have partnered for the construction of this school, through the #BuiltwithBitcoin program. The school, as well as future projects #BuiltwithBitcoin has promised, is making pre-primary education more accessible in Rwanda.
Education in Rwanda
Although Rwanda is among the countries leading education in sub-Saharan Africa, barriers to education still exist. With a net enrollment of 98 percent of Rwandan children in primary schools, Rwanda has done a lot to increase access to education. However, to further this trend, access to pre-primary education must also be expanded. Currently, only 24 percent of Rwandan children are enrolled in pre-primary education programs.
Access to quality pre-primary education is one of four main points in Rwanda’s current Education Sector Strategic Plan, which also includes access to basic education, improving education quality and diminishing gender barriers. Paxful and Zam Zam’s combined efforts are bridging the gap in access to pre-primary education schools and programs in Rwanda.
The partnership between Zam Zam and Paxful has worked successfully by pairing local experience and unique fundraising. Zam Zam had previously constructed several wells in the province and gained the trust of the local community. While Zam Zam provided the land for construction and labor, Paxful orchestrated the donation of $50,000 in Bitcoin necessary for the construction. The preschool consists of three classrooms, four bathrooms and a water tank. It also offers free tuition to all its students, ensuring that all children have access to classes. The school even boasts several teachers who specialize in early childhood education.
The preschool has been a welcome addition to the local community. One local mother, Immaculate Zihinjishi, was extremely grateful for the preschool built by Bitcoin. It enables her young daughter, Lucky, to attend pre-primary classes, to which her older children never had access. She expressed her gratitude, saying, “We’re all very happy that these people came to help us and to build this school.”
Paxful started #BuiltwithBitcoin to demonstrate and encourage charity in the cryptocurrency industry. The CEO of Paxful, Ray Youssef, sees the success of #BuiltwithBitcoin as proof of cryptocurrency’s usefulness and value in the real world. Through encouraging donations in the form of cryptocurrency, #BuiltwithBitcoin and other projects, such as the BitGive Foundation, have been using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to turn virtual currency into real-world change. While experts often debate the value of Bitcoin, initiatives like #BuiltwithBitcoin show the benefits that Bitcoin can bring to charitable causes around the globe.
The Next Step
In August, Paxful launched #BuiltwithBitcoin’s next goal: a new school for Rwandan students aged six to 15 yeard old. If all goes according to plan, the new school will be nearly twice the size of the preschool. The school will have six classrooms, each with a full-time teacher, and will cater to approximately 300 students. #BuiltwithBitcoin plans to build the new school in the Nyamata Sector of Rwanda’s Bugesera district, near the new preschool.
Paxful began the new school construction initiative by donating $20,000 towards the $100,000 goal. The rest of the funds will be raised through a crowdfunding campaign, accepting only cryptocurrency. Paxful plans to match each donation until enough funds have been reaised to build the school. Ultimately, the #BuiltwithBitcoin project aims to construct 100 schools and improve access to education across Africa.
– Morgan Harden