Progress over the Past 2 Years
International Widows and Orphans Fund (iWOF) is a locally formed charity from Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. The six founding members’ aim is to make a difference in the lives of orphans in DR Congo (one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous countries to live in).
Through the generosity of so many people, the progress over the last 2 years is clearly visible. When iWOF partnered with Grace Orphanage, one of our first goals was to ensure that the children attend school. Education is proven to be a critical step in breaking the cycle of poverty. In September 2013, all 35 children started to attend school, some for the very first time. Through partnering with Global Outreach (a US charity), we were able to enroll the children in their new school, Mango Tree School in September 2014. Mango Tree School has better educated and committed teachers, and overall, a much higher quality of education than their previous school.
As you can see from the picture above, smaller class size is another benefit from the new school (maximum 45 students per class vs 60+ before).
- The first year at the new school had some challenges as the level of education is quite high. We have to provide more support for children with learning difficulty, to prevent them from falling behind. A teacher is available to visit the orphanage for two hours per day, three days a week, at a cost of $50 per month.
- Three years ago, it seemed inconceivable that the children could receive a proper education without any books to read. This has changed with French and English books that were shipped as part of the container that arrived in June this year. We now have to convert the container into a library to house over 1,000 books. This will be the only library in the City of Uvira, with 500,000 people. We want to make these books available to all children in the community.
- Unreliable school bus service resulted in the children arriving late, and some days not getting back to the orphanage until 3:00 p.m.; a long day when breakfast was a slice of bread and tea at 6:30 in the morning. We are working on purchasing a minibus that will resolve this problem, and save the monthly bussing cost.
Working for a better life
Sofia, who does most of the cooking for the children, has experimented with the generator and new cooking plates. Although it is such an improvement over charcoal in terms of clean burning and time to cook, the cost of gasoline for the generator is prohibitive. We are working on possible solutions with a diesel generator or diesel burning cookers.
This year, rather than buying someone a gift they do not need, why not donate on their behalf and help a child that REALLY needs it. Please donate at: http://www.grace-orphanage.org/donate-now. Tax receipts available to all Canadian donations.
For the first time – beds to sleep in
Through the generosity of a Nanaimo family, the children are finally sleeping on beds. The beds were made in Congo utilising a local supplier. With the arrival of the container, the children also have the luxury of having pillows. An important added benefit is that proper mosquito nets can now be used, resulting in a lower incidence of malaria and Typhoid amongst the children.
Ange Baswira: Ange is a 7 year old girl, born in Kilomoni to an unknown father. Ange’s mother earned her living as a prostitute. When Ange was born her mother was unable to feed and care for her and her mother abandoned her. Later news came that her mother had been killed during the war with the rebels. Ange was living with a family who had great compassion for her but were living in extreme poverty themselves. Ange is now in the care of Grace Ministries Childrens Home and is in grade 2 primary school.
Kiza Gerare: A 9 year old boy, born in Sange village. Kiza’s parents were killed when a petrol tank exploded next to a restaurant they were selling their food in. With no one to care for them, Kiza and his sister were left to a life on the streets. They were found destitute and suffering and taken into care by Grace Ministries Childrens Home. Kiza is in grade 3 at primary school.
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