The Primary School
Because education isn’t free or mandatory in the Democratic Republic of Congo, many girls in rural DRC do not get even an elementary education. If families can afford the fees, they usually opt to send their boys.
Always looking to go deeper into the need in rural Congo, in 2018 Mama Gorethy saw the need to start an all girls primary school. Yes, we were making a difference with the sewing school, but Gorethy wanted to start educating girls younger, and change the systemic barriers that kept so many from getting any sort of meaningful education.
Congo Restoration Girls School of Compassion
When we opened the school in 2019, we started with 60 students in grades one and two, and a goal of adding one grade (and 30 more students) each year after that. Despite a big dip in donations during COVID, our girls are thriving and we have managed to stick to the plan.
This fall, we will welcome 160 girls and open a new sixth-grade classroom. Our school is free, but it costs Congo Restoration $360 per student. This covers her entire educational experience for one year, which includes:
Doing School Differently
Gorethy raised her children in the United States. She had seen what schools could look like. Single-room rural schools in Eastern Congo have dirt floors and slim, rotting boards for seats and desks. “If they don’t know anything else, they will think this is the norm,” one of our Congolese board members said. Mama Gorethy wanted to show them something else.
Our school has proper floors, proper desks and chairs, and we have the first proper bathroom in the village. Along the way, thanks to our supporters, we have added electricity and running water. Students are taught in French, the language of the educated in Congo, preparing them for college.
Our primary school students stand out from other children in the village. They are well fed, they know the importance of sanitation, and they speak French!
Food Fuels the Mission
When we opened the Girls School of Compassion in September of 2019, it was met with resistance: Why girls? Even though the school is free to students, parents did not understand why anyone would invest in girls.
In the Eastern Congo, girls and women are culturally assumed to be field workers. Daughters are also expected, at a very young age, to tend to siblings, procure water, and help with the constant struggle of feeding the family. It wasn’t until we told parents that school would serve breakfast and lunch daily, that they were on board.
Most kids in this community only eat once a day. Providing food at school ensures that our students are ready to learn.
These meals fuel our entire mission and account for the largest part of our monthly operating expenses.