Girl from rural DRC emerges despite difficult environment

Anuarite, 12
Photo: ActionAid
Zimbabwe team
Communications Focal Person

I am the Communications Focal Person for ActionAid Zimbabwe.

In a society which does not believe in the importance of educating a woman, Anuarite (12) from Nyiragongo Territory, North Kivu Province, east Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the few girls in her village, who have risen from doldrums despite her circumstances which seemed gloomy.

Women education is not prioritized as compared to men’s education in Nyiragongo. The society believes that there is no need to educate a girl because she will get married anyway and a man will look after her.  Anuarite, who is supposed to be in Grade 6 or in secondary school, had dropped out of school for two years. She is currently in Grade 4 at a school supported by ActionAid in Nyiragongo.

Anuarite was picked up from home among 221 other children, majority of whom had dropped out of school. ActionAid contributed towards Anuarite’s school fees and has been paying fees for the 222 (11 girls and 111 boys) including Anuarite since 2017.

I want to be a doctor. For one to be a doctor, one should be clever in class, said Anuarite whose recent class position was the ninth in a class of 32 pupils.  

  Most parents in this community fail to pay school fees because they have limited access to land. Most of the land in this community is rocky due to volcanoes that have been erupting there in recent years.

Anuarite is a member of the school’s club that is like a watchdog group which ensures that children’s rights are respected. The club received training from ActionAid.

It is the children’s club that has helped the school identify the children who had dropped out of school. The children’s club is also helping by educating the community to treat boys and girls equally with regards to accessing education. Now we are having more girls coming to school. The school enrolment now is 427 (198 girls and 229), and prior to this there were even far lesser girls than boys, Ntahorugiye Mathemarie Augustine, the school director said.

In addition to identifying other children who had dropped out, the children’s club has in recent years spearheaded the planting of trees at the school to protect it from wind.

There is a neighbouring school whose roof was blown off because they had no trees at the school. The children’s club at this school has organised the planting of trees at the school in the past and now our school is protected, “said the school director.

ActionAid in partnership with the Association for Facilitators of Development (AFDI), has also supported the school with the construction of six classrooms. In Nyiragongo, ActionAid has supported two schools with classroom block construction with each school building six classroom, Anuarite’s school included. The organisation will in 2018 support 500 school pupils with school fees payment in Nyiragongo, an increase from the current 222 (111 girls and 11boys).