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.

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School Performance of Indigenous Students January-May 2016

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Compared to the first semester, the results for this last semester were better. Ten out of sixteen students in the elementary school had good grades. However, we sadly noticed the absence of the one student named Tsoumou Dieu Merci, who had very a good grades last semester. When we checked about her social situation, 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.”

THE BOARDING SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS PROJECT

The acquisition of land to build the boarding school for students:

In Bambama, one of the leading causes of dropout among middle school students is poverty and lack of a place to stay for students. In fact, many students come from far away villages to attend school. With no place to live and no money to afford the rent, they often drop out of school. So, Espace Opoko has a goal to help to build a boarding lodging for those students.

That is why, during this trip, we manage to convince local authority to give us land where we will build the future lodging building to provide housing to the middle school students who live far away from the district.

FIXING FIVE WATER WELLS

Bambama is a remote village without electricity and clean water. The locality has five Water Wells. However, since three years, four of the five Wells were broken. Fresh from my YALI experience, I wanted to use the leadership skills I learned from my training on community mobilization to fix the three broken Wells.

With the financial help of the local Senator, I managed to secure the funding needed to buy the missing pieces to fix the Wells. Once the pieces were bought, I gather local young volunteers to fix the Wells. After two days of repair, we managed to repair three of the four broken Wells.12226989_1038604569523230_5107112168038144233_n

Now, Students from the elementary and middle School have access to water. One of the Wells we repaired is situated near the local hospital; which means patients from the hospital now have access to water as well.
Our goal is to train two volunteers in the maintenance of Wells. The two volunteers will be responsible for the maintenance and replacement of broken pieces for all the wells in the district.

 

NEW FUNDRAISING GOAL: Meeting with the indigenous Pygmies of Bambama

In Congo, Pygmies are the least privileged group. In the District of Bambama, pygmies are the minority which suffers from stigmatization and exclusion from the rest of the community. Because of this social exclusion, pygmies don’t have any children attending middle school. Although there are no major differences between the rest of Congolese and the pygmies, it is a well-established norm in Congo to treat pygmies poorly because of their social status.

During my 10 day trip, I decided to meet the pygmies community to gain a better understanding of the problems they face. After rich exchanges with them, I gathered that their main problem was a lack of support and resources to send their children to school. With resources and adequate help, the pygmies are willing to send 15 students to primary school and 9 children to middle school. So a total of 24 children might attend school this year if they have help.

That is why I agreed to organize a fundraising campaign for those 24 students to send pygmies students to school this year. The total amount needed for those children to attend school is $350. Please join me in making this happen!

DONATE HERE

AvertyPygmies

THE MEETING WITH STUDENTS

From November 6th to November 14th, I spent ten days in the District of Bambama. The primary goal of this mission was to meet students and share with them the main objective of my trip to the US as a Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) member.

To encourage student involvement in school, I handed school supplies those with highest academic grades and those who behave well in class. I had an open talk with them about my experience at YALI. By handing school kits to students with good grades and good effort and conduct, I want to encourage them to work harder at school.
The meeting ended with students promising to do better the next semester. By rewarding hard work and academic excellence, I want all students at this middle school to know that their efforts matter, and they can count on us when it comes to motivating them to become good students.