When project co-leader Annette Scarpitta traveled to Congo recently to visit this project, she received a fabulous welcome at the Vijana Primary School in Luberizi. An important part of the ceremony was gratitude from a young student whose family has endured great hardship in this volatile environment. We hope you enjoy his video (posted on the main project page) in which he thanks the donors of Global Giving with Annette as his messenger.
Since school has recommenced, our program students have been doing well, but there have been some changes. With donations down in the last academic year, we decided to pare down the number of students in the program by not including the ones who did not succeed in their final examinations. The count is currently at 130 students. This way, we hope to raise funding for additional needs beyond basic tuition fees, such as uniforms, notebooks, and, perhaps an after-school tutoring program, which may reach a pilot stage soon.
Your support is needed now more than ever. We hope in today's tough economic climate that you will consider a few extra dollars to show this special community you care. A monthly pledge of as little as $10 (plus the 15% if you can swing it) can make a world of difference in the lives of struggling Congolese people overlooked by all except for this program.
Kids in our Elimu Boru Primary School in Kiliba Suki are still timid, but unlike when they first joined this program in their stigmatized states, they are now speaking out. They are not yet in a position to help those around them in ways they would like, but they know education is the right path. Here is what some of them had to tell project co-leader Annette on her recent visit about why their education is important:
Etuzi, Josephine, and Bernard like school “for the future.” Etuzi believes that school will help her with work. Both
Etuzi and Josephine aspire to be teachers.
Dorcas, Oliver, Bukuru, and Lucien want to remain in school to help their families.
Joseline aspires to obtain a secondary school degree.
Miriam enjoys studying because she believes it will allow her to have a good life.
Bahati also likes school because it will help her have a good life. She would like to help other women as does her role model, [AMCAV Director] Bernadette.
As we gear up for another school year, we hope we can continue to count on generous GlobalGiving donors like you. Donations have been on the low side lately, and we don't want to have to send these kids home for lack of tuition payment! Thanks in advance.
I first noticed Gertride, an albino girl selected to be in our scholarship program, in a video produced by AMCAV early in our project (this portion not yet translated). Albinos in eastern DR Congo are greatly stigmatized and marginalized, often unloved by their parents. I could tell how shamed Gertride was because she hid her head on her knees during the filming of the video, never looking up. But thanks to the social integration process of AMCAV and school officials, recent photos of Gertride shows her smiling and looking confidently at the camera, including one with AMCAV director Bernadette. I am so proud of her.
Another girl brought to my attention lately is a 9-year-old girl named Happiness. She is missing some fingers but appears to be proud as she holds her new pens and pencils from a fully funded GlobalGiving microproject. This is likely a birth defect called Symbrachydactyly, a condition in which a child is born with small or missing fingers or a missing hand, usually only on one side, as is the case with Happiness. I am sorry that medical options for improving her condition are not available to her.
Continued thanks to all for your continued support of this project.
When I first noticed Claudine in a photo, there was a problem. Older than most but attending school for the first time thanks to our program, Claudine had been given a blouse that was too tight for her (Photo 1). "Get that girl a new blouse, please!" I pleaded. AMCAV used their own funds to purchase a new one for her and sent me a photo of her wearing it (Photo 2). In both photos, Claudine looked like she could use a boost of confidence, and I hoped for the best for her. Indeed, Claudine excelled in her studies. At the end-of-school-year exams, Claudine scored so high that the school authorities determined she should be moved from 5th grade primary to 7th grade secondary! And so, as one of the 150 kids this program supports, Claudine became the first AMCAV student to attend the local secondary school in Rwenena. She continues to excel in her studies. In the third photo here, Claudine returned to the primary school to visit friends and check in with AMCAV's director, Bernadette Ntumba. What a striking transformation from the year before! Claudine's mother is lucky enough to have a parcel of land provided as one of AMCAV's income generating projects, and when she saw Bernadette for the first time since Claudine began secondary school, she thanked her profusely with a simple but poignant gift: a basket of fresh green beans! We continue to be grateful for all the support you have provided to enable not only Claudine's education but also that of our other 149 kids. We hope you will consider a(nother) donation to keep this program going strong and to continue to affirm the self-worth, grow the self-confidence, and of course provide essential education for these kids. Thank you!
Thanks to an in-kind gift of one supporter, three cameras with limited video capability have been gratefully received by each of our three schools. The distances between Bernadette and the 3 schools are significant, with government security checkpoints along the way. Now that schools have their own cameras (giving Bernadette the cards at regular intervals so she can send the photos electronically), we’re hoping to post more frequent project reports for supporters like you.
Camera Training: Stateside, Annette made a series of instructional videos (in French - thanks, Laurence!) on each of the cameras for the schools to see and learn from; Bernadette supplemented the training in person upon delivery. Officials, teachers, and of course kids are all excited about this gift. Check out the photos posted here of delivery and training day.
Donations are running on the low side so we're hoping to get a boost from you. I am removing supplemental materials from the donation choices and filling them in only with tuition fees, which is our essential need. It would be great if you could remember our project in your holiday giving (remember the Tribute option for gifts!) and pass along our need to those in your social circles.
I'd also like to announce that we have a new related micro project page here on Global Giving which I hope will be up and running by the time this report is posted: search "Fund Writers at Schools in DR Congo" (#12473), which provides pens and pencil boxes to each of our students. Donations for tuition remains our first priority, however.
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters for caring about these Congo kids. We wish you all a joyous holiday season and a prosperous, happy, and healthy 2013.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Democratic Republic of the