This is an exciting time for the Idjwi Island Education Fund! Last month, we traveled from Washington, DC to visit the current school on Idjwi Island and to begin construction on the new EP Buhumba. We received an incredibly warm welcome from the whole community, participated in the graduation ceremonies for the 355 primary school students, heard speeches from school and community leaders, and enjoyed the celebration on the site of the new school. We spent some time talking with the school director and the dedicated teachers and met some of the students' families. We received vegetable gifts -- onions, sweet potatoes, leeks and carrots -- grown in the Bustani Project sustainable garden that the students grew themselves! These students are working in the garden and growing their own sustenance under the supervision of trained agronomists who are teaching them sustainable gardening techniques. The students proudly presented us with the fruits of their labor -- and we were delighted to receive such gifts!
Our main purpose for visiting Idjwi was to finalize the construction plans and identify a project manager to lead construction of the new school. We visited a local primary school under construction in Goma that is being built at a size and with materials similar to those we plan to use in Buhumba Village. The logistical challenges of constructionfor EP Buhumba on Idjwi Island requires the right management and oversight and a team that can overcome the constraints to keep construction moving forward. Aquiring, delivering and securing the needed tools and materials as well as the the limited construction season due to frequent rain will need the right oversight. We discussed these conditions with local experts and professionals who will assist our team in building this summer. Our local team joined us to interview a series of candidates to manage the construction of the new school and we are set to begin construction of the foundation. We are finalizing our efforts to evaluate the bids and expect to select a construction team and break ground on the first phase of construction during the summer season.
Thanks to the incredible support from our Global Giving community, we are in a position to begin construction on a worthy, durable school for these wonderful children.
School leaders share gifts to express their thanks
We are packing our bags for Idjwi Island! In two weeks, members of our leadership team will travel from Washington, D.C. to the Democratic Republic of Congo to visit with students at the current school and finalize preparations to break ground to begin construction of the New EP Buhumba. This is a very exciting time for us at The Idjwi Island Education Fund! Our team will meet with community leaders, oversee the progress of the Bustani Project (our sustainable garden), and visit with friends and supporters in Buhumba Village.
While in DRC, our leadership will also meet with project friends in Goma who are helping us to hire a project manager to locally manage this phase of the New EP Buhumba construction. We are expecting to start construction in mid-2014. Phase 1 is to assemble materials and complete construction of the stone foundation.
We appreciate the great support from our friends and donors who have made it possible for us to plan to start construction of the new school. Please stay tuned for more updates from the field about our upcoming activities.
Last month, students, teachers, community leaders, and representatives of the Idjwi Island Education Fund joined together to launch a sustainable garden near the site of the new school. This garden project will provide the students with valuable training in sustainable farming techniques under the supervision of a trained agronomist. This work training is part of their required curriculum and further supports the students in the current, practical application of what is the Island's main economic engine. The Fund provided the school with the land needed, as well as a full range of supplies such as rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows, watering cans, seeds, and rubber boots. The soil has been carefully prepared to increase the potential yield, and the first crop, which includes carrots, tomatoes, leeks and yams, has been planted. The harvest will be used to support the construction of the new school.
The new sustainable garden is located at the site where the new school will be constructed. At the present time, the older students are attending school at a temporary structure at this location, while the younger students continue to attend the existing school a few kilometers away.
The students had a successful conclusion to their school year. 354 students attended EP Buhumba during the 2012-2013 school year. Thirty-six of the thirty-nine sixth graders passed their exams and will have an opportunity to move on to secondary school this fall. The school director, Mr. Kusheme Klish Janda, and the students expressed appreciation for the support provided by the Idjwi Island Education Fund, which included new chalkboards, backpacks, notebooks, pens, and other supplies. The new school year will begin on September 2, 2013.
In the coming weeks, the older students will be breaking ground on a sustainable garden project adjacent to the site where we will be building a new school. We will provide leadership and hands-on training for the students to cultivate their own vegetable garden. The students will learn proper techniques to prepare the soil, plant the crops (including corn, tomatoes, beans, and leeks), and harvest the crops. We will construct a farmstand at the school for the children to sell harvested product to sustain the garden and to support the construction of the new school.
We will have many exciting developments to announce regarding the school project over the next few months. We appreciate your continued interest in this project and the support for the deserving students in Buhumba Village.
We are pleased to share a copy of the Idjwi Island Education Funds' 2012 Annual Report. Our highlights for 2012 include:
supporting the existing school by providing new chalk boards, school supplies, and tuition assistance for children at the school.
our selection to participate in the launch of Give for Youth, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, in partnership with GlobalGiving, to help young people connection with greater opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship.
raising nearly $9,000 for construction of the new school through more than 75 individual, foundation, and corporate donations.
We appreciate the contributions we received through volunteer efforts and donations during 2012. We look forward to more exciting developments during 2013.
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