This Swahili expression means "Peace is a way to love and understanding."
It has been an eventful few months for the Idjwi Island Education Fund. In addition to our primary goal of building a new school for the students in Buhumba Village, we have continued to provide ongoing assistance to the existing school. In September we launched five "micro projects" through the Give for Youth initiative with GlobalGiving and Microsoft and have been working hard to meet our goals. These micro projects were designed to provide immediate support for students at the current school. Through this ongoing campaign and our recent direct efforts, two of the micro projects have been fully funded. We continue our efforts to fund the other micro projects, as well as to move forward toward the new school.
The two fully funded micro projects enabled us to order and purchase new chalkboards and school supplies (sourced locally in Goma) for the kids on Idjwi Island. The funding also provided tuition assistance for older students to complete their sixth grade year.
Last month, our volunteers traveled by boat from Goma to deliver the supplies to the school in Buhumba Village. They were welcomed at a ceremony attended by hundreds of students, their parents, teachers, and community leaders, all of whom expressed their gratitude for our support for the school.
While our volunteers were on Idjwi, rebel forces seized the regional Capitol, Goma. Boat travel was suspended to Goma and our volunteers remained on Idjwi for several days. Ultimately, our volunteers were able to return by taking a longer, indirect route back home to Goma. There are reports that the rebels have recently left Goma, but the situation the Eastern DRC and the Kivu province remains unstable.
Amani Ni Njia Ya Mapenzi Na Ufahamiano
We have just finished another school year at our primary school. This year 345 children completed their courses in a traditional Congolese curriculum. Their favorite subjects were Algebra and French, although some ofthe older children also want to learn English.
This summer the students will spend their time working to raise crops, fishing, and celebrating with the traditional sunset dance.
In September, forty-two of our recent graduates will go on to enroll at the selective Ecole Secondaire Kashofu on Idjwi island. This prestigious school focuses on biochemistry and teaching.
Our little school, with six teachers, is expecting to enroll as many at 500 primary school students in the fall. We have given the Idjwi Island Education Fund a "wish list" of supplies for school in September. We have asked for slate writing boards for the younger students, pens, pencils, notebooks, and uniforms.
We are grateful for the support that the Idjwi Island Education Fund is providing while they are working to build us a new school.
This photograph shows the beautiful site donated by our founding board member, Them Nyamunongo, where the Idjwi Island Education Fund will be constructing a new primary school for hundreds of children. Over the past few months, we have continued with our fact-finding and research efforts in connection with the school project, including interviewing development professionals who are experienced with grass-roots development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries.
Using the information that we have gathered, including detailed budget information from other school projects in the region, we are refining our budget and improving our plans for the school. For this process we have enlisted the help of Dr. Abed Benzina, who has volunteered to serve as a design and construction consultant for the project. Dr. Benzina, an architect who was trained in Africa and the United States, has more than 20 years of experience in Architecture and building construction in the United States and overseas. A native French speaker, he has particular expertise in the efficiency of construction cost and methods.
Given the nature of this project, we feel that Dr. Benzina’s involvement will be particularly helpful in the design and construction process. Some construction materials, such as bricks, are resources indigenous to Idjwi Island, but other supplies and materials, such as mortar and windows will need to be purchased in Goma and delivered to Idjwi Island by boat. In order to reduce transport, and to further support the local community, the school project will use as much of the indigenous products that we can.
We will have announcements about upcoming events in the next few weeks.
Greetings from Idjwi Island!
In September, more than 350 primary students started a new school year at L’Ecole Primaire Buhumba on Idjwi Island. Their school is inadequate and the roof has long been in disrepair. This summer, following contributions from the Idjwi Island Education Fund ($1,000) and individual donations from our founder, Them Nyamunongo and his family in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, a new tin roof was installed on the existing school.
The new roof is an interim step to assist in the educational needs of these children while we continue to work to build a new, better school for them. We have intensified the process of a needs assessment for the new school, such as size and number of classrooms and other facilities. As part of this process, we also have obtained copies of the drawing and specifications for a school that was recently constructed on another part of the island. In addition, we are conducting research and discussions with non-governmental organizations who have successfully completed construction projects in the area, including the project manager for the recently-constructed school. Board members from the fund will be traveling (at their own expense) to Goma and Idjwi to continue this process and to interview prospective managers for the project.
Through the generous support of individual donors, corporate matching gifts, and gifts from foundations, we continue to raise money for the construction of the school. To date, we have nearly $25,000 on hand. With an all-volunteer board and staff, we have virtually no overhead.
To complete a successful year of organization, raising awareness, planning and fundraising, we will be participating in the Global Giving Tribute Card program during the holiday season. Supporters who would like to make a holiday donation as a holiday gift may do so through Global Giving and design a personal, customizable card to memorialize the gift. To make a tribute card gift, use this URL http://goto.gg/8577 and click on “Gift-or-in-honor-of.”
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