Meeting the Women of the Watervliet Huddle

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22664247_10214479764651690_1866129024_oOn October 14th of this year, Mr. Avery Ndzoyi, the founder of Espce Opoko, and Roland Nzaou, the founder of eSynergy organization were privileged to meet with an amazing group of women known as the Watervliet Huddle.  The Watervliet Huddle meet once a month in the upstate city of Watervliet, located just 10 miles north of Albany to brainstorm on government policies that matter to them and how they can contribute to make a difference in the their community as well as surrounding communities.

Mr. Ndzoyi, who is visiting the Albany area for the first time, met with the group so he could share the stories of challenge underprivileged and indigenous children of Sibiti and Bambama, Republic of Congo, struggle with on a daily basis.  He explained to the group how students with no financial support work very hard to go to school, but far too often, it’s simply not enough and their dreams of getting an education fade away.  He also shared the challenges he faces working to help these seemingly forgotten, indigenous children of Congo.

At the end of the meeting, some members were so moved that they formed a quick fundraiser.  Susan L. Morrison, Lois Gundrun, and Linda Kabrisky all gave generous donations of $30, $100, and four backpacks, respectively.  These contributions are greatly appreciated and will go a long way toward the goal of educating the children of Bambama and Sibiti.  These gifts will be instrumental in Espace Opoko’s determination to train students on the use of computers.  They will also be used by some of the staff for administrative purposes.

22657117_10214479776491986_494346930_nAnother meeting between Avery Ndzoyi, Roland Nzaou and the women of the Watervliet Huddle took place on October 16, 2017. During the meeting the Watervliet Huddle surprised Averty with a donation of two laptops, a camera record, a head set, two more backpacks, and blank DVD. Averty’d like to say “thank you” to the women of the Watervliet Huddle for being so willing to work with Espace Opoko and  eSynergy,  in our efforts to pave the way for the underprivileged children of Congo get the education they so deserve.  Let us stay confident in our efforts and watch how far this amazing experience will take us.  How many students will we be successful in getting a proper education?

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Ardel Mtsanga is eight years old.  She is currently enrolled in the second grade and loves going to school.  Ardel’s mother is autochtone (native) or more commonly known as pygmy;  her father, however, is non-autochtone; he is not native to the region.

Pygmies in Republic of Congo are treated very poorly.  They are discriminated against because of their differences in life style and appearance. When Ardel’s mother was pregnant with her, her father refused to acknowledge he was the father.  He threatened Ardel’s mother with violence if she ever told anybody he fathered the child.  Fearing violence, she never told a soul.  Ardel and her mother now live in a pygmy village buried deep in the Congo jungle.

Due to Espace Opoko’s generous support, Adel’s life has completely changed; she went from a life filled with hopelessness and despair to a life filled with hope and happiness.  Unfortunately, there are many more pygmy children facing situations similar to Ardel’s.  This is the challenge Espace Opoko faces every day and this is why they need our support.  If we all work together, we can change precious children’s lives forever.

If you are willing to help children just like Ardel, please go to Espace Opoko.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH “BON SAMARITAIN”

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Averty Ndzoyi, on the left with The Missionary Alliance     -Republic of Congo

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On February 15th 2017, Espace Opoko staged a meeting with The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), an evangelical Protestant denomination within Christianity.  The meeting between the two non-profit organizations was to discuss the beginning of a new partnership in three distinctive categories:

  • The creation of multiple literacy centers in Lékoumou, a department of the Republic of Congo – These proposed centers will teach reading and writing skills to the indigenous population in the hope they can more easily fit into society and to have the necessary skills to make for a better life.
  • The launch of “Bon Samaritain”, which translated means “Good Samaritan”, across the department of Lékoumou – Bon Samaritain is a program designed to raise the awareness of HIV. This program, currently in existence in others departments of the Republic of Congo, is comprised of several modules for children, adults, and families.
  • The creation of activities that will generate revenue for groups of indigenous families who are enrolled in the literacy programs

All meetings are part of the strategic advancement for the 2017 Espace Opoko program.

PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH WITH UNICEF

On February 14th 2017, Espace Opoko engaged in a meeting with Mr. David Boulman, the head ouniceff the World Food Program (WFP) in the Republic of Congo.  The meeting was in reference to the schooling of indigenous people in Lekoumou province. During the meeting, Espace Opoko shared its 2017 strategies and goals with Mr. Boulman. The two parties also discussed the need for a strong partnership including the need for strengthening education of indigenous families in Lekoumou. Next month, Espace Opoko is planning to have a second meeting with the WFP and The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the capital city of Brazzaville. These two organizations are part of the United Nation (UN) program. Continue reading

Motivation of Indigenous Parents Who Sent Kids to School

1-jancier-2On New Year’s Day, 2017, Espace Opoko organized an event to honor indigenous parents who are sending their kids to school this year. During that event, Averty Ndzoyi, the founder of Espace Opoko, distributed foods such as oil, rice, canned tomatoes, and other goods to those families as he did last year on New Year’s Day. In stark contrast to last year, when only few indigenous parents sent their kids to school, this year all indigenous parents are sending their children to school. Espace Opoko can now boast that its primary goal to reach out to the majority of the indigenous population was achieved.  It must be said, however, that going to school doesn’t ensure all kids will be successful. The next step for this young organization is to keep all the kids in school while at the same time improving their grades. It’s important to note: this year two indigenous children are enrolled in the class with the anticipation of moving on to the high school level.  Hopefully, they will meet the necessary grade requirements to be successfully accepted into high school.

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Jan 1er 17 – Espace Opoko: Oil distribution to indigenous in Bambama village, – Rep. of Congo

Summary Short Term Goal: 2015 – 2016

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To help kids from poor indigenous families living in the Bambama district of the Republic of Congo stay in the school during this academic year 2015-2016, we initiated the following activities:
– Raising $1600 for the school tuition of 60 students
– Financing the schooling of 24 Aboriginal children for only $5 per student per month
– Building toilets for an entire school
– Launching the first motivational program with 12 middle-school students to improve their grades
– Acquiring land for constructing the first student hostel to reduce student commuting

Short Term Goal:
Start constructing the student residence building
Increase the number of funded Aboriginal students to 60

Fundraising Options:
The e-commerce tee-shirt fashion brand LA KODE has launched an Espace OPOKO tee-shirt on the Amazon website, and 50% of the proceeds go to Espace OPOKO’s projects.
For every two tee shirts that are sold, one indigenous child will attend school for an entire month.

Please, support this initiative to help these children attend school.

Donations to Espace OPOKO are greatly appreciated! You can make a donation on the website: www.espaceopoko.org

T-shirt

Please share this information and buy your shirt here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FJ63TA2/ref=twister_B01FJ666QQ

Updates From Bambama:

By: Averty Ndzoyi

Early last semester, we carried out five days of activities in a Bambama school. We were working to pay the school tuitions and assess the progress made by the students of the indigenous people of Bambama. We also assessed the school’s progress through 12 local students previously selected to motivate and counsel.

Since the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, we took the responsibility of paying the mandatory monthly school tuitions for 24 indigenous children that we convinced to go to school this year. Thanks to the donation of Kristina Lewis Madina on our website www.espaceopoko.org, we were able to pay for these 24 indigenous to attend school.

It is worth noting that each year, fewer indigenous students finish the school year due lack of support.  Last year, the dropout rate among Aboriginal students was 63% in the last school semester. This school year, no student has dropped out of school. We continue with our activities to empower Aboriginal students to have the same chances of success as the local children.

Case Studies

High school student grades improved greatly in the second semester of this year. Recently, we noticed that one of our improving students, Tsoumou Dieu Merci, was not present in class. After following up, we found out that Tsoumou Dieu Merci was seriously sick and could not attend school anymore.

In middle school, we also noticed a slight improvement in the grades. For instance, Student Malouono Bouchancy’s grades have improved from “poor to “average”.

Early in the school year we selected twelve middle school students to participate in our motivation and monitoring pilot program. The goal of this program is to see how continuous and intentional adult attention and involvement will positively impact students and others. For this last semester, twelve students have increased their efforts, and the results were very satisfactory. They kept their place at the top of the list as top students in their school. Btassoua Ompebet Exaucé went from 12 to 14.47 in the second semester, and Bikouya God went from 10 to 12.43 average in the second semester.

To foster competition and hard work among students, we organized a “rite de passage ceremony” where those top students were congratulated and rewarded. As a reward, we plan to distribute hand out an MP3 player to each of those students containing the English audio courses to enable them to independently learn English when they are at home.