Schools that Inspire: The Kigali International Community School

Dr. Benjamin P. ThomasSchools That Inspire, The CACE Roundtable2 Comments

Group of students in class at Kigali International Community School (KICS).

Kigali International Community School (KICS) is located in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Surrounded by textures and shades of green, both the school and the city are beautiful. The country of Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills.

Rwanda is also infamously known for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi where over a million people were killed in a 100-day period. April 7, 2024 will mark 30 years since this tragedy occurred. Whereas this atrocity must be remembered, there is so much more to Rwanda than what happened in 1994. Rwanda’s story is one of resilience, determination, and the impact of leadership and governance among many other factors.

KICS: A microcosm of Rwanda’s story

The story of KICS is a microcosm of the story of Rwanda. After the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi, a group of Rwandan believers began to pray throughout Kigali and the country. They were praying for healing. They were praying for reconciliation. They were praying for redemption.

The group came to a hill, just one hill away from “downtown.” The area was entirely bush. They recognized this hill as the country’s center for witchcraft. These believers began to pray that God would redeem this hill and from this hill He would send laborers to the rest of the world.

Concurrently, in a different space, leaders in the country began to meet every Saturday for two years from 1996-1998. During this time they outlined what they wanted to be true for their country. This framework was labeled Vision 2020.

As part of a tangible expression of what life in Rwanda could be like by the year 2020, His Excellency, President Paul Kagame, announced the building of Rwanda’s first planned neighborhood: a community with paved streets, manicured gardens, and townhomes with three bedrooms and two baths each. He shared that the neighborhood should have a community center, a school, and a medical clinic. Vision 2020 Estates was indeed built in the year 2000. The group of Rwandan believers previously mentioned began to pray that God would bring a Christian school and a Christian church to occupy some of these buildings.

Students playing outside at the Kigali International Community School (KICS).

In 2006, KICS was founded in response to a group of expatriate Christ-centered families living in Rwanda who were seeking to meet their children’s educational needs. KICS began in the garage of Food for the Hungry with 40 students and eight teachers on September 14, 2006.

A few months later in November 2006, a group of believers in the US formed a 501c3 (ROC partners) to purchase the school building and community center in the Vision 2020 Estates. In April 2007, KICS was invited to move onto the school campus, where they continue to reside today.

A thriving and inspirational school

Today, KICS is a US-accredited member of ACSI & MSA and a full member of CESA–the first school outside the US to achieve this membership. KICS has a 100% graduation rate and regularly sends graduates to universities in the US & Canada, as well as some to Europe, Asia, and Africa. KICS’s MAP and PSAT and SAT scores are above the US average; AP scores are nearing the 90% for pass rates as compared to the global average of 60% and US average in the high 20%. From all aspects, KICS KITES are flying high!

What really makes KICS inspirational is its vision: to impact the world for Christ by preparing servant leaders who choose character before career, wisdom beyond scholarship, service above self and a lifestyle of participation over apathy. This vision is embraced by all stakeholders, from families to staff to supporters.

The global family of KICS is second-to-none.  A majority of families (50-55%) are from Rwanda, with 65-75% from somewhere in Africa. Alongside these African families are 20% from the US and 8-10% from Korea, with families at KICS representing nearly 30 countries. What a joy to serve our global God within a global family.

Kigali International Community School (KICS) students sitting in class.

Students learn not only from the servant-oriented staff but also from their context: Rwanda is one of the most developing nations in the world. The parents are all contributing to the rebuilding of this country in one way or another.

It’s a shared responsibility between all stakeholders and members of the community to live out the KICS vision. Parents stretch and contribute what they can. Staff give deeply to serve students’ best interest. Students go above and beyond to support each other. KICS is currently about to break ground on a new 21-acre facility that will serve as KICS’s new campus for generations to come to better implement its vision.

KICS has personally served as the inspiration for my wife and I to co-found B2THEWORLD, which helps develop schools in countries recovering from war. Our organization currently serves 1100 children across four schools in Rwanda and Pakistan, including KICS, and is expanding into South Sudan and Cameroon. Over the next three years we will look to serve 7000 children while partnering with 27 schools, thanks to the inspiration that KICS has been.

The Kigali International Community School truly inspires at every level–for school leaders in countries recovering from war; parents who entrust their children to KICS every day; staff who give of their time, talent, and treasure to serve here; and students growing as servant leaders.


  • Dr. Benjamin P. Thomas

    Benjamin Thomas is a Co-founder and C.E.O of B2THEWORLD and the leader of Kigali International Community School in Rwanda. He is a New Yorker, the son of Indian immigrants to the U.S., a husband, and a father of four. He enjoys spending time with his family and being present as a dad and a husband. He currently serves in Rwanda and is passionate about global leadership, global education and global missions. He is also an advocate for children in post-conflict countries.

2 Comments on “Schools that Inspire: The Kigali International Community School”

  1. Thank you Dr. Thomas for this special article and your God-given leadership skills. To God be all the glory!

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