Desks for Learning

Memili Primary school students, teachers, and RainShine field workers 2020.

The Memili 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 Memili who asked our foundation to help their school to start again. RainShine volunteers visited the Memili 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 Memili 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

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

This project was successfully completed in early 2021 – thank you to all our supporters who donated to this project..

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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