Build a School for 400 Children on Idjwi Island

by Idjwi Island Education Fund
The community welcomed us to the school
The community welcomed us to the school

In August, we traveled to Idjwi Island armed with art supplies, colorful t-shirts, and special snacks and hosted more than 100 students to our first ever "Colonie de Vacances" (summer camp) at EP Buhumba (our primary school). We were greeted with a fantastic welcome ceremony from the entire community. Together with the school teachers, our group from the US and Goma led the students in art projects and other fun activities.

The projects were simple, but meant so much to these kids who have never known even a small piece of paper that wasn't for a strict purpose!  The children were at first confused, and then delighted, and the experience for all was truly amazing. We brought a full array of art supplies, some building toys and sports equipment (soccer balls and team t-shirts) for the camp, which we left for the kids to keep throughout the school year.  

EP Buhumba's director and the teachers were busy getting ready for the new school term starting in September, but they all joined in the camp project fun. We had a fantastic time playing soccer and creating crafts. Students and teachers together made a large banner to hang in the school.

The teachers were grateful for the Fund's ongoing support that we are providing to the school, including the retention bonuses they received.  We are expecting more than 350 primary school students at the school this year, and are working on some exciting plans to further expand programs at our school.

banana leaves make great tables!
banana leaves make great tables!
kids showing off their projects
kids showing off their projects

It is summer time on Idjwi Island!  Last week, more than 350 students completed the school year at the Buhumba Primary School.  The Idjwi Island Education Fund is recognizing the top students with scholarship funds to use for tuition or supplies during the next school year.  We are also recognizing the teachers with a year-end bonus.  Although the school year may be over, our programs will continue through the summer.

The Bustani Sustainable Garden Project continues to be a great success.  Under the tutelage of a trained agronomist, the students raised and sold crops of onions, carrots, cabbage and beans at a local market.  The funds that they generated are being used to purchase notebooks and pens for the students.  Our agronomist will continue to work with the students through the summer.

Next month, the Idjwi Island Education Fund will be hosting its first-ever "colonie de vacances" summer camp for the children in Buhumba Village.  During the day camp, the students will enjoy art projects, gardening instruction, and sports.  The camp will be led by our board member, Safi Ayamunongo, a teacher in Washington, D.C.     

Buhumba Village
Buhumba Village

Friends and Supporters -

We are pleased to share a copy of the Idjwi Island Education Funds' 2014 Annual Report.  Our highlights for 2014 include:

  • supporting the existing school through the Bustani sustainable garden project, providing supplies such as solar calculators, pencils and sports equipment, granting scholarships to a small group of needy students, and providing incentive salary bonus payments to staff. 
  • our leadership team's visit to the school to meet with school and community leaders, attend a graduation ceremony, monitor the progress of existing programs, and inspect the site for the new school.
  • The construction of a stone foundation for the new school building, administrative offices, and latrines.
  • Raising more than $20,000 through more than 75 individual, foundation, and corporate donations. 

We appreciate the contributions we received through volunteer efforts and donations during 2014.  We look forward to more exciting developments during 2015.

Foundation for Classroom Building
Foundation for Classroom Building

In November we completed construction of a stone and mortar foundation for the new classroom building, administrative offices, and latrines at EP Buhumba. The work was performed by a general contracting firm based in Goma, DRC, with experience in building and rehabilitating schools in South Kivu, DRC.  

Here is BR Construction's report on the construction:

As there are only three small trucks for the population of 250,000 on Idjwi Island, we brought a truck by boat to Idjwi to help ship materials, including stone sourced from Idjwi Island. The rains caused some delays in the transportation of heavy materials such as sand, stones, and water across the muddy roads on Idjwi.  We trained local assistant masons on Idjwi Island, and one-half of the masons hired for the project were from the Idjwi local community.  As we had extra materials, we added a second room to the administrative building to provide space for the teachers to prepare their lessons.  We also hired a security guard to watch the site and construction materials.  The workers all received daily payments, plus food, transportation, and medical fees during the construction.

We projected that foundation could be completed in 30 days. Due to the rains, the project took a total of about 50 days to complete.  It was completed on budget.  We are also doing some final elevation works on the school ground.  As there is no compactor on Idjwi Island, the foundation is now being compacted by dirt and rain water so that the walls do not develop cracks.  Once the compacting is complete, the foundations will be ready for the completion of the buildings. 

Stone delivered for foundation for new buildings
Stone delivered for foundation for new buildings

This month more than 300 eager children are returning to school at EP Buhumba on Idjwi Island! 

This new school year is especially exciting because we have started construction on a new school and administrative office for the primary school. 

In April, members of our board traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where we interviewed multiple contractors who have experience building schools in Eastern Congo. Following a competitive bidding process, we hired a contractor with experience building schools in Goma and with construction projects on Idjwi Island. After inspecting the site and obtaining sketches from an architect, our local project managers have prepared the site and obtained the materials for the construction. In Goma, we filled a truck with materials and sent the truck to Idjwi by boat.  After unloading the materials, we used the truck to deliver stones from a local quarry on Idjwi Island. The construction project is providing valuable jobs for workers on Idjwi Island, all under the supervision of trained and experienced engineers. We expect to have the foundation completed by early October.

The construction is not interfering with the ongoing programs at EP Buhumba. The students are still attending classes in the existing school (which can be seen in the background of the photo).  Their regular curriculum is being complimented by instruction in sustainable farming through our Bustani Garden Project, which is providing practical training in proper techniques for soil preparation, crop rotation, and cultivating local crops. 

Thank you for your continued support for this important project.

Truck with materials being shipped from Goma
Truck with materials being shipped from Goma

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Organization Information

Idjwi Island Education Fund

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
David Folds
Washington, DC United States

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