In Kandale, only a quarter of the school-age population attends school, in part because of a lack of safe school buildings. In order to provide children with a safe and protective learning environment where every child can dream of a better future, REVE Kandale supports local initiatives to build new and upgrade existing school infrastructure.
In 2011, we raised funds in collaboration with local community members, former students and teachers and other friends of Kandale. “Operation 1000 Tôles pour Kandale” (A Roof for Kandale) raised the funds to build six new primary school classrooms. In 2017, we purchased a brick-making machine to accelerate the building process, and in 2018 we constructed a multi-use education building where students can sit for their all-important state exams. The building also will house an expanded library.
We also renovated two of the four dormitory buildings that provide lodging for girls who come from far-away villages to attend local schools and helped construct four new toilets to accompany the multi-use building.
Our objective for 2019 and beyond is to build a modern primary-through-secondary school education complex, first by completing work on the unfinished primary school and building six additional primary classrooms. The long-term goal is to build 30 new classrooms and housing to attract qualified teachers who otherwise would not relocate to a rural community such as Kandale.
Teaching real-world job skills is an important part of education in Kandale. In 2018, with help from the U.S. embassy in DRC, the Association of Inter-Mennonite Missions, Days for Girls, and Heritage Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA, we delivered 40 sewing machines to revitalize the vocational sewing program at Lycee Gin’a Gisanga. Already, more girls are coming to enroll at the Lycee – a welcome development in an area where girls often are not encouraged to attend school at the secondary level.
In a fast-changing world, it is imperative that teachers remain competent in the latest national curriculum. We are working with education experts at the University of Kinshasa to arrange training programs in Kandale, as the state Education Ministry lacks adequate training resources.
Many children in Kandale have never seen a computer, let alone had access to one. Yet, Kandale is home to the only Technical Secondary School, Lycée Gina Gisanga, which specializes in Sewing, Accounting and Typing. Because until recently there was no electricity in Kandale, manual typewriters proved to be the practical way to teach typing skills to students.
In 2013, REVE Kandale launched a call for assistance for manual typewriters for Lycée Gina Gisanga. The needs were modest: 10 manual typewriters. A good Samaritan, Mr. Bert Rosica of A.E. Rosica & Company Financial Advisory Services and Capital for Industry, offered his services to refurbish any used typewriter donated to REVE Kandale, so it woud be in good working order. We received 11 typewriters, which have helped the school provide technical hands-on experience to students.
Today, Kandale is beginning to move beyond the typewriter age. With new solar panels at the multipurpose building providing electricity, and laptops delivered courtesy of Pfizer Inc., we are beginning to teach computer literacy, an essential part of a 21st century education program. During the 2018 visit to Kandale by REVE Kandale Foundation board members, we were able to provide computer literacy training for faculty members, an initiative that will pay important dividends in the future.
Kandale, like many areas in rural Congo, lacks books. Most children and adults in Kandale go through life without have owned or read a book. Teachers rely on old notes to teach classes. REVE Kandale has made it a priority to set-up a first-ever community library in Kandale. We have collected and donated more than 500 books that are improving learning and preparation of classes by teachers. More French-language books are still needed.
Youth and Sport -
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. REVE Kandale views soccer as an excellent way to encourage youth participation in the community and a way to bring youth together and teach teamwork and cooperation. In 2018, a team of school-aged boys and girls journeyed 55 miles on foot more to play in a tournament organized by Mennonite missions in Mukedi, southern DRC. Despite the long trek -- and the fact that they had not practiced together much as a team -- they won the tournament. To this day, it is a great source of pride for Kandale.