Articles By amadi-rain

Gilima Primary School

Gilima Primary School 2020

The Gilima Primary School was closed for about five years and only reopened in early 2018 due to the occupation of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the area.

The Gilima Teacher’s Committee approached RainShine to provide financial assistance to rebuild their school in sustainable materials, i.e. hardwood, tin and brick.

This program will be implemented in four phases based around available funding. The first phase involves the manufacture of 10,500 bricks by workers in the local community. This will be the building blocks for three classrooms. The second phase is to lay the foundations and construct the classrooms. On completion of the three classrooms, the first two phases will be repeated again to build the other three classrooms and latrines.

Phase 1 of this project commenced in the last quarter of 2020.

Help our children achieve a comfortable learning environment for improved educational outcomes at Gilima primary school.

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Kembisa Wildlife Conservation

What does a conservation wildlife program have to do with improving access to education? Preserving endangered species and protecting wildlife programs generates money in communities, which reduces poverty and improves living conditions. Better management of wildlife resources also encourages sustainable land-use planning. The flow on effect is a stronger economy and the development of future resource security in these communities.

The objective of this program in collaboration with DRCongo partners is to reclassify the Epi Hunting Reserve and establish a wildlife conservation program.

Currently the Epi forest is identified as a hunting reserve and is owned in common by the local communities in Kembisa Sector, which includes Epi, Mamili and Amadi. It also borders on the sector of Abarambo and the Madi and Mabanga chiefdoms. The reserve is approximately 9,000 – 15,000 Km2. Around 30 years ago trophy hunting was conducted in this reserve for a number of years by two local entrepreneurs running a Safari company Uéré-Safari, which brought international hunters to the area to specifically hunt the rare Bongo Antelope. The Bongo is classified as: Lower Risk/ Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) – Red List of Threatened Species.

Source: UNHCR map 2018

The Epi Reserve has been abandoned for approximately 15 years and during this period we know the area is threatened by:

  • Poaching, local and international;
  • Illegal fishing;
  • Deforestation;
  • Fragmentation of habitats for emblematic protected species;
  • Armed groups.

In addition the Epi Reserve is strategically placed between two other reserves Bili-Uéré to the north and Rubi-Tele to the south, which provides a corridor to support large animals to pass from north to south.

To launch this program a historic meeting was held on August 24/25 2020 between the local Chiefs and leaders of the area, his Excellency the Provincial Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development of Bas-Uélé, Mr Floribert INGA BEBU; Principle of the l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and Chief Curator Bili- Uéré Reserve, Mr Romain DYANDOGHERE; Administrator of Poko Terrority, Mr Kambili SEBE Jr; and DRCongo RainShine Administrator, Abbé Jean de dieu MIMBUGBE. The outcome of the meeting was the signing of a Free Informed Act of Consent outling a framework for future co-operation for this program.

We are now in the detailed planning phase for this program, with a view to conduct a wildlife survey of the reserve by the end of 2021. We are seeking partners to join with us on this program.

Desks for Learning

Mamili Primary school students, teachers, and RainShine field workers 2020

The Mamili Primary school in DRCongo was closed for a couple of years prior to 2019 due to lack of funds in the village to support a school. In 2018 RainShine was approached by the Chief of Mamili who asked our foundation to help their school to start again. RainShine volunteers visited the Mamili primary school in 2020. There are 158 students enrolled at this primary school. Our current involvement with this school is funding teacher’s salaries and school equipment.

On our recent visit to the school we were shocked to find only two almost functional student desk in the six classrooms. The students sit in the dirt to attend class and we sat in the dirt while we met with some of the teachers.

Classroom at Mamili Primary School DRCongo 2020

In life there are a lot of things a person can walk away from, but after seeing this we decided to commence the “Desks for Learning” project.

Mamili Primary school classroom 2020

We have ordered 79 hardwood student desks to be built by carpenters at the Amadi St Augustine Monastery in DRCongo. 79 desks will sit 2 students per desk – this is a good start.

These desks have been costed at $60.00 AUD each. As at the 14th September 2020 ONLY 22 desks remain to be funded.

We have asked for the building of these desks to be completed by end of 2020. The first phase of 40 desks will be delivered by end of October 2020.

Here is a photo of another primary school located at Gilima DRCongo in 2020 showing the style of desk that we are going to purchase for the Mamili school ,

Gilima primary school with student desks DRCongo 2020

Please donate $60 AUD to buy a good quality student desk. $120.00 AUD for 2 desks, $180.00 AUD for 3 desks, $240.00 AUD for 4 desks, $300 AUD for 5 desks & $600.00 AUD for 10 desks. Your donation will enable a child at the Mamili primary school to sit at a desk like most students around the world enjoy, and not have to sit in the dirt to take their lessons.

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Access to Education

Primary school children Dungu 2011

Education teaches us to write, read, think, and achieve. 3.5 million school age children do not attend school in DRCongo. 2.75 million of those children live in rural areas. And 41% of Congolese girls aged 5 -17 years old are working and only 36% of girls are enrolled in High School.

RainShine Australia’s mission is to improve access to primary and secondary school education for children living in rural areas of Democratic Republic of Congo. The majority of Non-Government Organisations operating in DRCongo currently are doing their work in the larger towns and villages, so there is a need for organisations like RainShine to operate and implement projects in remote areas to improve opportunities for education, health and to build future resource security in communities.

Unfortunately in both the Epi and Mamili villages there is no high school. Children can travel to Amadi, which is 70 kms away to attend high school classes. And there is an actual high school located approximately 400 kms away from Epi in Isiro. However the majority of families in Epi and Mamili are not be able to afford to send their children to these schools. One of RainShine’s long-term projects is to build a high school that can be attended by both Epi and Mamili children.

While some of RainShine team members were involved with the Epi Primary school for a number of years prior to 2016, in that year RainShine took over full responsibility for the Epi Primary school. This school is located in a remote part of northern Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently there are 157 children attending the school with one headmaster and six teachers.

In 2018 RainShine now also supports the Primary school in Mamili, which is about 40 kms from Epi. There are 158 children are enrolled at this school. The Mamili school does have a brick building to hold classes, however it was closed down for a number of years due to not having enough money in the village to pay teachers. Through donations to RainShine, we now provide teachers salaries and school equipment, and some basic medicines eg Malaria test kits and treatment to the Mamili school.

Mamili children with tooth brushes from RainShine supplies

Our annual budget to operate both schools costs $12,000 USD. If you would like to assist this ongoing program then please donate to this specific project, which can be accessed from our main menu.

While both Epi and Mamili primary schools are categorised in DRCongo as private, non-Government schools, RainShine supports our children to sit the Government test each year to determine how they are performing with their education within the province and, we also engage Government Administrators to review our education techniques and school environment to identify improvements.

Children of Epi Primary School with their exercise books

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A Place to Land

How do we currently travel to the Epi and Mamili primary schools? The answer is by car, plane, and motobike. The last 70 kilometers between Amadi and the schools must be done by motorbike as the roads are very difficult to transverse by a 4 x 4 vehicle for 9 months out of 12 months due to the rains in Africa, and secondly finding a 4 x 4 vehicle in the area of the schools is almost impossible. The local chief of the Epi Village recently provided land to RainShine to build an airstrip similar to the one currently located at Amadi. This project is currently in the planning phase. The Epi people have cleared the land, and RainShine is liasing with an airport engineer and seeking local Government approval to commence work. RainShine Australia is seeking funding for this project.

Closest airstrip to Epi and Mamili Primary schools is at Amadi 70 kms away

And airstrip will make it easier for Rainshine people to visit the school and to transport equipment for our projects. The provision of an airstrip will also make it easier for officials to visit the school. Recently we had to put a Government school assessor on a motorbike to ride 400 kms to the school.

In 2020 when RainShine field workers were visiting Epi and Mamili they were involved in a couple of medical emergencies. Good fortune was upon us and our intervenion save two people’s lives. Currenly once you go into Epi and Mamili you need to be healthy enough to get out of these areas to get assistance. Due to these two incidences RainShine is now funding a doctor to travel three times a year to run a clinic in these villages.

Loading the plane in Dungu to take our solar equipment to the Epi primary school 2018

Help the people of Kembisa sector have fly in and fly out access for emergencies

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Rooms for Learning

With the successful conclusion of our 20,000 brick project we are now in the planning phase to build 6 classrooms, a headmaster’s office, and 2 latrines. Depending on funding for this project, it will be implemented in two stages, the first stage will include the building of 3 classrooms and two latrines, and then the second stage will include the construction of the remaining 3 classrooms and the headmaster office with an extra classroom. RainShine Australia is currently seeking funding for this project.

And Epi Primary School classroom in 2019

The current classrooms are small and over crowded and are in a dilapidated condition. Each year thatched roofs need to be replaced. White ants eat the softwood structures used in the classrooms. And because it rains for 10 months out of a year the mud walls of the classrooms are eroded away.

This project will rebuild the 6 classrooms and other supporting buildings in brick, hard wood, and tin to provide a more secure, comfortable, and a more spacious environment for learning.

Our estimate to build 2 blocks containing 3 classrooms in each block, which will provide a total of 6 classrooms, 2 latrines, and 1 headmaster’s office with an overflow classroom is $70,000 AUD.

If you would like to contribute to the Rooms for Learning project, then please donate below or here is a link to our fundraising campaign for this project

Architectural plan for new classrooms at Epi DRCongo

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20 Thousand Bricks

When we started working with the Epi primary school in 2012 one our first long-term goals we wanted to achieve was to replace the current school classroom huts with school buildings made from brick, hardwood timber, and tin. At the time this goal was way beyond our resource capability, so we decided to work towards the goal by starting the 10,000 Brick project.

Brick making Epi village 2018

We fell short of our goal of 10,000 bricks by 4,000 due to funding difficulties at the time. However in 2018 we re-invigorated the project by forming a local Brick Committee in the village to manage the work and we also provided new funding. During 2018 over 10,000 were made. This project has been completed.

Brick firing in Epi DRCongo in late 2018

We now have 20,000 bricks for our future construction work. A small number of those will be used to build a room to store our equipment for the High Frequency radio, and the remainder will be used in the future construction of the new classrooms.

Talk with Us

At a meeting with RainShine in 2017 in the Epi village, the local people expressed the need for communication. The Epi village is located at Latitude 4.0137400 and Longitude 26.6762300. This location is a very remote part of DRCongo and it has no access to telecommunications. The absence of communication presents a number of problems, not only for RainShine to contact the village, but also in the case where there is an emergency such as an attack by a rebel group.

Rebel groups travel through this area, and when a village does not have any form of communication this can increase the risk of an attack. History shows that when remote communities have radio communication, this can limit the scale of an attack and also act as a deterrent to rebels because they know an attack can be reported quickly to authorities. A village that has sustained an attack can fore warn other villages that rebels are in the local area, which will save lives in many cases.

High Frequency radio equipment in DRCongo
High Frequency radio equipment being uppacked in DRCongo

In 2017 we started engaging with the Invisible Children (IC) organisation to look at installing a High Frequency radio in the Epi Village. IC project staff from Dungu DRCongo conducted a field visit to the Epi Village in 2018 where an agreement was formed with the people to install a system.

Members of the Epi Community who attended the meeting with Invisible Children

In December 2019 the RainShine Foundation and Invisible Children successfully completed the installation of a High Frequency radio in the Epi village. The High Frequency radio will provide much needed communication, but it will also be included in the Early Warning Communication Network in Democratic Republic of Congo called LRA Crisis Tracker. The Epi High Frequency radio will be the first in this region of DRCongo and will be a strategic site in the network.

The Epi village can now share life-saving information with other villages, with the LRA Crisis Tracker team, and also with RainShine.

The LRA tracker system not only provides information to the world on all rebel acts in DRCongo, it also provides analysis to humanitarians, protection actors, and policymakers to ensure that they are able to more effectively protect communities like the Epi Village. Click here for LRA Tracker

Turn on the Lights

The Australian team installing solar panels at Epi Village 2018

Did your parents every say to you dont read in the dark as it will hurt your eyes? One of things that surprised us the most at the Epi Primary school in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRCongo) is that the classrooms during the day are so dim. In 2017 the RainShine Foundation USA and Australia commenced the Turn on the Lights Project to raise funds for the provision of a solar system for this primary school in DRCongo. Then in 2018 the Australian RainShine team traveled to Uganda and DRCongo to implemented a 500 watt solar system at the Epi primary school. This solar installation provided light and power in the 6 classrooms and the church. This project was successfully completed and is now in a maintenance phase.

In the history of this village the people had some hand-cranked lanterns, but they never had electric light and power. The teachers of the school wanted better lighting so they could do tutoring at night. We also noticed that during mass the priest would used a torch to read the bible and hymn books. We could see a number of benefits for this village to have access to electric light and power, and specifically to improve lighting in the classrooms for reading.

One of the Epi Primary school classrooms before light

It was clear to us that after installing the solar system all the teachers agreed that providing lighting in the classrooms made a significant improvement to both teacher and student participation.

Classroom with electric light installed
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