This is an excerpt from the project proposal submitted to Solidareca Bonvolo:
THE INSTITUTE RUTOBOKO is a public school located in the district of SOUTH MABANGA in the Municipality of Karisimbi in the city of Goma, in North Kivu Province, in the far East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is about 6 km from the centre of Goma.
It is located in the territory of Nyiragongo, named after the volcano which last spilt its unusually fluid lava over the school site in 2002. Much of the city, including its airport and other vital infrastructure, was destroyed by voluminous lava flows and 200,000 people were left homeless, adding to the human disaster caused by frequent civil wars since 1993.
The consequences of these wars are still being felt to this day. Several times, armed groups have raided the surrounding avenues to loot, steal and rape.
This situation caused temporary or permanent abandonment of neighboring, avenues and villages to form large concentrations in neighborhoods such as MABANGA, the site of the army camp of Goma.
The majority of local children are the children of soldiers many of whom suffered death, severe incapacitation and resulting poverty as a result of ongoing military action.
Since no schooling in Goma is free to any students, regardless of parental life or death, or disability suffered in the line of duty, several schools from the MABANGA area have been closed and the unguided youth sometimes become harmful elements in society, for lack of other options.
Lack of housing and education and exposure to prolonged war sank most families into poverty and one consequence has been many early marriages of young people between 14 and 16 years. The new generation has even worse prospects than the last.
Education can make all the difference for these young people : learning to be part of the culture of reading and research, they can be helpful to their society, and thus become agents of endogenous and sustainable development of their own environment.
The solution that we propose to this social crisis is a support for young people by creating a library and reading room, and there conducting meetings and reflection-sessions about situations of the past and their present consequences.
These reflections can help the young people open to a new, less parochial, way of thinking that will prepare them to resist recruitment as private soldiers in armed groups, and to become responsible and helpful in the Congolese society of tomorrow.
Further programs, such as courses on the importance of human rights, and contraception, can be introduced on an on-going basis, once the facility and the concept of free community education is established at Rutoboko.
The management of Rutoboko has already shown genuine commitment to this concept by allowing Solidareca Bonvolo to use a classroom of the school on a pro bono basis for Sunday community courses in Esperanto since 2015.
Cooperation between SOLIDARECA BONVOLO and THE INSITUTE RUTOBOKO provides the most appropriate and accessible place for the our educational services and an affordable (without cost) building site.
This is a very serious consideration as the combination of physical destruction of buildings, enormous influx of refugees from Rwanda and from other parts of the DRC, and widespread corruption -leading to enormous wealth inequality- have combined to make real estate prices reach first world levels whilst teachers struggle to support their families on $80 a month.