CHILDREN REPORTERS – Following the children’s training in information gathering and processing techniques organized by UNICEF from 24 to 27 August 2017, we conducted a site visit in the town of Bunia in order to put theory into practice. We met Héritier and Olivier, two teenagers who are preparing for their return to school in a motorcycle washing station. Discover their testimonies and their wishes for education.
Working to study for the return to school
Heritier, 16, was born in a family of four children. For some years his parents no longer live together. To prepare for the new school year, he works in a washing station for motorcycles and vehicles. “Studying without the parents’ support is a real ordeal. That’s what takes me to work during the holidays to buy the supplies and pay school fees”.
Reducing school fees to promote education for all
Despite his endurance at work and his enthusiasm for studying, Héritier is struggling to pay school fees.
“Last year we paid $12 a quarter. It is too high in comparison to what I earn. I want the government to reduce school fees to allow those who do not have means to study well” he argued.
Héritier is not alone in this situation. Olivier, 17, is in his 4th year of Pedagogical Humanities (Education for Teaching). He works with Héritier in the same motorcycle washing station.
“I need small means to support myself and especially prepare for the new school year; that is what justifies my presence here. Life is hard; my parents do not have much to take care of me.”
Many children are deprived of their right to education
Olivier says that in his neighborhood, many young people do not attend because of the poverty of the parents. Faced with this situation, Olivier asks young people of his age to not stand idly by.
“ Even if we are despised by some of our classmates because of the work we do, we have to take responsibility. We must do something to take charge of ourselves and prepare for our future ” he said.
Engineer in the making
Olivier dreams of becoming a Construction Engineer even though he is studying Pedagogy. “My parents directed me in Pedagogy. But I want to become an Engineer. I am already trying to learn masonry during my holidays”
As for Olivier and Héritier, education is paramount for all children in Ituri. We, children reporters of Bunia, are asking the parents and the authorities of the province to respect the right to education for each child. For an adage says: “We only harvest what we have sown”.
Translated from French by Dorsaf N. James
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