KASAI – Kamiji territory, situated in Lomami province, was the scene of clashes between security forces and militias. The violence forced entire villages to hide in the bush, far from basic services. Over the course of months of displacement, children were unable to continue their schooling.
Nearly 300 schools have been destroyed
In some areas of Greater Kasai, families are coming back to their villages and children are making their way back to school. Nonetheless, nearly 300 schools have been destroyed; in Kamiji, 11 schools lie in ruins.
Across the region, lessons are taking place in hastily-constructed classrooms and pupils were exposed to bad weather, studying on the damp earth with their feet in the mud. These conditions put children at risk and deprive them of safe and protective learning environments where they can receive quality education.
Return to school in Kasai
Faced with this situation, UNICEF has begun setting up temporary learning spaces (TLS) in Kamiji territory and elsewhere in Greater Kasai. Advocacy activities amongst community representatives and village leaders sought the involvement of the community in setting up these spaces. No parent remained uninvolved: every single one agreed to take part in setting up the new classrooms!
Thanks to the involvement of the community and UNICEF tarpaulins, over the course of just a few days, four schools benefitted from 24 temporary classrooms and four administrative offices. The population was overwhelmed with joy:
“Now I have a school!”
“I won’t have to go home when it rains any more!”
The population of Kamiji has shown enormous gratitude towards UNICEF. The TLS aim to ensure education for all, as stated in Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees access to education for all children.
The activities of UNICEF and its partners
UNICEF intends to support more than 100 schools with temporary and semi-permanent learning spaces, across the Greater Kasai region, which will give roughly 33,000 children access to safer and more protective learning environments. It is critical for the children that have been forced out of school due to conflict to return to school to restore a feeling of normalcy in their lives after months of fear and uncertainty.
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Translated from the French by Julia Bayton
Sylvie Lovwa est C4D Officer au bureau de Mbuji-Maji
Sylvie Lovwa is C4D Officer at UNICEF Mbuji-Maji
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