Case Study: Katobo 1

Case Study: Gitigarawa Primary School, Uvira Mid Plateau, South Kivu, Eastern DRC

  1. What’s your name? Merikire – Ndanyuzwe
  2. How old are you? 11 years old
  3. What class are you in? Year 5
  4. What do you like about the Congo? Schools and living with others who love me
  5. Are there any other places you would like to visit? Kinshasa and Bukavu. I have heard they are very good. I live in a small village
  6. Who do you live with? I live with my grandmother, grandfather and my cousin.
  7. What do you think about where you live? I like it. My grandmother is old and she gives us advice on how to love. My grandfather also helps us to love. My cousin is 10 – we are good friends. He also goes to school.
  8. What about your parents? My mother and father live in the same village. I have 5 sisters and 3 brothers.
  9. When did you move in with your grandparents? In 2008 when I was 8.
  10. Why did you move? My uncle who used to live there moved to Rwanda. There was no one to look after my grandparents so my parents gave me to them. I clean the house, fetch water and wood. I go with other girls so it’s not too bad.
  11. Do you see your other brothers and sisters? I sometimes spend time with my brothers and sisters. We share stories about what has happened. Two are younger than me. My oldest brother is 23. He lives in Rwanda – he is mentally ill. Apart from him, everyone goes to school.
  12. Do you like school? I love it!
  13. What’s your favourite subject? I really like history and I love to learn new things.
  14. Can you tell me something you’ve learnt? Well, in the olden days, people didn’t used to wear clothes here.
  15. Are you always able to come to school? I always come to school – I only stay at home if I’m sick. It takes me 20 minutes to walk to school.
  16. Do you have to pay school fees? Yes.
  17. Who pays them? AGAPE (a church supported local charity). This is really good and my parents are very happy because there was a time when my mother didn’t have any money.
  18. Can you describe an ordinary day? I wake up and wash myself. I eat, put on my uniform and go to school. Then I come home, eat lunch and then wash the dishes. I clean the house, fetch water and sometimes firewood. Then I have a little time to study before going to bed.
  19. How long are you able to study for? 15 minutes
  20. Is that enough time? Not really, I need more time. In Year 6 I will be able to have more time to study because my parents and grandparents are really happy that I am at school.
  21. Does anyone help you with your school work at home? Yes, my older sister.
  22. What would you like to do after Year 6? I’d like to go to the secondary school that is here. I want to be a doctor so that I can help people who don’t have enough money to pay at the health centre.
  23. Would you like to be married? Yes I would and I’d like to have 3 children.
  24. Why three? I don’t want many children because when they get sick, they don’t get medicine.
  25. Who is your best friend? My auntie, who is the same age as me.
  26. What do you do to have fun? We talk about football. We play another ball game with other girls. We pile up our shoes and then stand around them. One person throws a banana leaf ball at the shoes so it bounces off. Whilst the nearest person runs to fetch it, the others have to try to collect as many shoes as possible. It’s really good fun. I’m an expert! We have also just started playing football with the boys. We have a team called Team Okapi
  27. Have you heard about Children’s Rights? No
  28. Is there anything you would like to change? People shouldn’t harass me. When I was young, people used to beat me. Now they don’t because they have been to a training. Instead they give me advice and this helps me.
  29. Are there any children who don’t go to school in your village? Yes. There are 2 Bafuliru families and the children don’t go to school. They stay in the village and help their mothers in the fields.
  30. Do they want to go to school? Yes, but their parents don’t want to send them. I don’t know why.
  31. Is there a difference between you and those children who don’t go to school? Yes. If you go to school, you get intelligent. My future will be better. All children should be able to go to school.
  32. What do you dream for the children of the Congo? I dream that the Congo’s children will have a better life. That they won’t just stay at home and fetch firewood. I dream that they will come to school, learn and exchange ideas with others.
  33. Is there anything that makes you sad? I am very sad about what happened to Eben Ezer team. It made me cry. I am also sad when the FDLR come – we have to be ready to flee. It used to be bad, but now it is better.
  34. When are you happy? When we think we had been studying and now we are in a good school.
  35. Is there anything you would like to say to people in the UK or America? Tell Muzungu you have done well for us.

Case Study: Kakuba Primary School, Uvira Mid Plateau, South Kivu, Eastern DRC

  1. What’s your name? Antoinette
  2. How old are you? 15 years
  3. What class are you in? Year 6
  4. Where do you live? In Katembo – about 10 minutes away. It’s a small village
  5. Who do you live with? With my mother, my two little brothers and my little sister. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother who are married.
  6. Do they live nearby? No – my sisters live far away. My older brother used to live close by, but he has just gone to Minembwe to find work.
  7. So you are the oldest in the house? Yes – one brother is 13, the next is a girl and she is 11 and the youngest boy is 9.
  8. What about your father? He died when my youngest brother was 1 year old.
  9. Can you describe your life? Mother does the housework. She cultivates so that she can find money for school fees. Us children are at school.
  10. What is your house like? It is very small. Everyone stays in the same room together. We have a field where we grow manioc and beans. We have 2 goats.
  11. How is life? Life isn’t so good. It is really difficult. Just mother does the work since father died.
  12. Do your older brother and sisters help? No – my sisters now live with their husbands’ families far away. My brother was also in difficulties – he couldn’t find work. Now he is in Minembwe we hope it will be better.
  13. How do you think things can be better? I want to study so that I don’t have to work in the fields like my mother. I want to make things change.
  14. How? I need to finish school first. Then I want to be a nurse or a head teacher.
  15. Is there a secondary school nearby? Yes – there is one here. It has just started.
  16. What do you like at school? I like French. But I don’t like Science – it’s really difficult.
  17. Have you ever had problems coming to school? I’ve always managed to come to school.
  18. When did you start school? At 9
  19. What did you do before then? I looked after the children.
  20. Why did you start school? I asked my mother if I could start
  21. Do you have time to study? Yes – I study at least 2 hours a day after school for the national exams
  22. How is school? It’s really good now, since it is new.
  23. Do you have a best friend? I have lots of friends. My best friend is Damalé. She also likes school.
  24. What do you do in your free time? We do our homework together and help each other. We also play at skipping and with stones (like marbles). I also like to go to church – we sing and dance a lot.
  25. Do you know about children’s rights? Yes. I know that children have the right to go to school. They have the right to be clothed. The right to be cared for when they are sick.
  26. Where did you learn about rights? At school.
  27. In the past girls used to get married quite young here. Has that changed? Yes – girls seem to get married later now. The girls are much happier – they want to study. I don’t want to get married until I’ve finished university.
  28. Where are you happiest? I feel at ease at school – when I’m at home I always have to help out and do jobs
  29. Is there a time when you’ve been sad? There was a time when my mother was sick and I nearly had to drop out of school. My mother said I would have to, but I managed to stay at school. My mother got better, so it was OK. But now she is starting to lose energy. I really hope that I will be able to continue with school. I’m really scared I’m going to have to drop out.
  30. Have there been times when war has been here. Yes, but all around us. The rebels passed above and below. We had nowhere to run so we stayed and waited and prayed to God. He protected us and the bad people went away.
  31. What do you hope for the Congo? I hope for Peace.
  32. What will signal peace? We will see all children in school. There will be no military men. We will see development
  33. Have you already seen some of these changes? Yes. It used to be that all the girls stayed at home to work. We were miserable. Now there are girls in school. There are still many at home though – their parents don’t have the money to send them to school. There is hate between parents and children who don’t go to school. The children are embarrassed and angry that they can’t go. They think they are weak and that the children who go to school are strong.
  34. What about food? What do you like? I like beans, rice and milk.
  35. When do you eat? I eat lunch and dinner – two times a day
  36. Are there times of the year when food is scarce? Yes – often our harvests are small. There are diseases that attack the manioc. Times are really difficult in July/August and February/March
  37. Did you celebrate at Christmas? Yes. The village slaughtered a goat and we bought sugar. We ate together and danced and sang. It was very happy.
  38. Is there anything you’d like? Yes – I think there should be a vocational school for people who haven’t studied.

NB Denise is Banyamulenge and Antoinette is Bafuliru. Both discussions were conducted with a colleague who acted as a translator so that the children could speak in their mother tongue. I’ve tried as much as possible to scribe what was said!

Rev Samson MUVUNYI
Chief Director of Agape International in Patnership with Orphans International