News & Events – The Virdee Foundation

News & Events – The Virdee Foundation

September 28, 2017

Children in Crisis are delighted to announce the inauguration of Bibangwa School, generously funded through a partnership with charity The Virdee Foundation. A two-hour walk from the nearest highway, the new school is located on a plateau in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The school officially opened on August 19 and has now enrolled 165 students.

The official inauguration of the L-shaped school and its six classrooms, originally completed in April, had to be delayed because insurgent groups crossing the plateau made it too dangerous for tourists to travel to the inaugural celebrations. Communities living in the area have been ignored by the government for decades, as well as by clashes involving many rebel groups. The existing dark and overcrowded school was built with sticks and dirt. Its teachers are untrained and unqualified.

As a result, Bibangwa’s children are at the extreme of isolation, with no help or investment from the government or other organisations. A former wattle and smear school built by a resourceful community desperate for their children to learn, unfortunately, torrential rains on the plateau ruined it.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this day. All the kids and their parents were there; most of them actually helped build this school. The principal, the local chief, the school building committee, Ebenezer Ministries and The local church as well as children in crisis spoke as they handed over the keys. The contract was signed on a table full of dictionaries, textbooks, pencils, papers and footballs. When we opened the bright blue door into the bright The country choir sings and dances in the classroom. I’ve seen many new schools in Children’s Crisis and this is by far the most impressive.” said Thea Lacey, Program Manager for Children in Crisis

Thanks to the support of the Virdee Foundation, they were able to work with parents in Bibangwa to build a new, durable, six-classroom school for their children. The new school is named after The Virdee Foundation and is known as “The Virdee School”. It is a community-owned and community-operated school that has been established in a safe and dry place for future generations of Smithsonian, who now have the opportunity to learn and enhance their educational growth, knowledge and development and life.

Bibonwa old school

A leaky roof cannot protect the children and classroom posters from the rain.

Bibangwa’s former school was built through a huge community effort, using local traditional techniques. It is a bamboo frame structure with white clay walls. While these technologies work well in the family home, they are completely inappropriate in the classroom, providing children with a precarious and restless place to learn. There are simply no large, often tended fireplaces in the school, which means the walls are crumbling and the foundations are deteriorating because there is no heat or smoke to dry and preserve the clay, a key element needed to maintain the main structure. Because of this, the high rainfall on the plateau rapidly degraded the corrugated iron roofs, making the classroom structure an unsafe and unsuitable habitat for children to study. As a result, classrooms’ foundations are cold, muddy and often wet — especially when the plateau’s heavy rainfall during the monsoons limits children to classes and studies.

Long ago, untreated thin corrugated metal roof sheets rusted in the structure of the classrooms.

Space was also an issue—the school’s four small classrooms simply didn’t have enough room for 165 students. The bamboo bench, although unstable, gave some students a minimal capacity seat, but the real difficulty and challenge they faced was that they did not have a table to support their books while they were writing, so had to balance their books and writing in their on the legs.

The absence of desks forces children to write on their laps. Rocks are used as benches when classrooms become too full.

Mission Statement of the Virdee Foundation

“Alleviating the needs of women and children who have suffered or are at risk of mental, physical or sexual abuse.”

Our report on the state of Bibangwa’s schools and the conditions in which children struggle to learn leaves the Virdee Foundation in no doubt that their support will lead to lasting improvements in the physical and mental health of Bibangwa children.

new school

Bibangwa School has 165 children aged between 7 and 14 years old. Of these, 85 were girls and 80 were boys. They are taught in Swahili and study literacy, numeracy, science and French. But their education is much more than that. The Batwa family’s involvement in building the school meant that many of their children were attending school for the first time; mingling with children from other tribes and building an understanding of each other from an early age. Understanding and respect will play an important role in promoting inter-ethnic peace in the future.

The new Bibangwa School was constructed using durable materials – solid brick walls with deep foundations, galvanized (rust-resistant) metal roof panels and concrete floors. It’s designed to be durable enough to protect children from cold weather and heavy rainfall.

New desks and benches in the school’s six classrooms now provide each child with a comfortable place to sit and study while remaining stable and healthy. They will no longer have to bend over to write on books, and windows allow natural light to illuminate the classroom, allowing children to learn without the distraction of wet, uncomfortable and inappropriate conditions. and dark environments.

The following images are from other schools we have built on the plateau and provide a concept for a new school called “The Virdee School” that Bibangwa’s children can now attend:

Thick galvanized metal roof panels and gutters keep rain out of the classrooms
Benches and desks made by local carpenters allow children to sit and write in comfort and stability.

Partnerships have been the driving force behind the construction of the new school in Bibangwa – between children in crisis, the Virdee Foundation, EMI (our local Congolese partner) and parents in Bibangwa.

Children in Crisis has been working with local partner Ebenezer Ministry International (EMI) for the past decade to educate and protect children on the plateau. By building new schools and training teachers, Children in Crisis aims to reach every child and create opportunities for them to escape the cycle of poverty, isolation and conflict. The contributions of the Bibangwa community are critical to the success of The Virdee School. Bibangwa is one of the most remote places where we do school building, so we would not be able to accomplish our mission without the great help from the local community. Trucks had to unload construction materials at the end of one of the few dirt roads serving the area. Due to the lack of infrastructure and accessibility in the area, one of the community’s many contributions was the 2-hour walk across the hills to Bibangwa by hand or head to actually carry these materials, including heavy metal roofing materials.

Children in Crisis CEO Koy Thomson, Said: “Hearing that our mission is to help the forgotten and most disadvantaged children in remote and often conflict-affected settings, Professor Peter Virdee didn’t hesitate to contact us to ask how the partnership with the Virdee Foundation was going Able to help us improve the lives of more children. From the very beginning, the Virdee Foundation has demonstrated a depth of critical understanding and engagement that has helped overcome all barriers and difficulties; for example, when renewed conflict has delayed school Inauguration”.

After tremendous efforts and contributions from our partners and the local community in Bibangwa, this amazing work is finally done…

Our Congolese partner EMI worked closely with Bibangwa’s parents to help them successfully complete the construction of the new school. The image below shows community members collecting stones for the school’s foundation. The first image below shows the arranged bamboo cage structure, with each cage representing the cornerstone of a family’s collection – so you can see that there are many families involved and women do a lot of the heavy lifting. “The location of this school is particularly challenging,” said Thea Lacey, program manager for Children in Crisis. “There are few roads on the plateau and they are all dirt roads and are only accessible at certain times of the year. The school itself has no roads leading to it, only sidewalks, which require a arduous trek with building materials, usually by children’s Parents take it. This is an extraordinary commitment from the local community that can only be achieved through a partnership with the Virdee Foundation.”

Local community members are collecting cornerstones. Each bamboo basket represents the contribution of a different family, indicating the number of families involved in this huge project.

Women collecting cornerstones (more like rocks!)

This contract, in which EMI, Children in Crisis and the Bibangwa community agree to our responsibility in the successful development and construction of the new school, has also been signed. Pictured below, the head of the women’s committee that is helping with the construction of the new school signs the school construction contract.

The head of the Women’s Committee signs the school construction contract.

Koy Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of Children in Crisis, said: “I very much hope that our partnership with The Virdee Foundation will continue to grow. A good partnership built on shared values ​​celebrates what we have achieved while also Stand up to the challenge. These qualities are on full display in this new school, which is our first step together.”

>For more updates and exclusive updates, discover LookArt .

What do you think?

154 Points
Upvote Downvote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Major Conservative Party donor arrested in alleged £100m VAT scam – and faces extradition to Germany

About Us – Virdee Foundation