Rachel was diagnosed with Fibrous Dysplasia (overgrowth of the bone on her skull) at the age of 5. She underwent years of treatment and surgery and ultimately was told that there was nothing else that could be done in Rwanda. She was connected with the Global Health Outreach Program at Dell Children’s and brought over for a series of surgeries to repair her skull.
Because of all the time spent in hospitals as a child, as well as the stigma attached to her condition, Rachel was only able to attend school through the first grade. Her first few months in Austin were spent at “home” learning basic letters and their sounds. She then started in a formal ESL class at House of Tutors, then transitioned to a bridge program through AISD at International High School.
About a month into her stay, she was generously gifted an iPad. This iPad from Day 1 has been integral to not only Rachel’s education but also her social integration and connection to Rwanda and her family. She has used it to learn her letters, to advance her reading, to practice her English, to Skype with her family, to Facetime with her American family while in the hospital, to document all her experiences with pictures, to listen to Rwanda pop music, to watch Rwandan movies and so much more.
Some of the most helpful apps were: