Ducere was passionate about delivering the African Children’s Stories program in the DRC, one of the poorest countries in the world. In the years to come we will look back at the challenges as we faced localised Ebola, travel bans, language barriers, internet limitations and then, just as we were to publish, COVID-19.
The DRC stories were written by students in two primary schools: EP Kashofu and EP Malinde on Idjwi, an island in Lake Kivu. Even though the island is only 70 kilometres in length, it is the second largest inland island in Africa and the tenth largest inland island in the world – a fascinating geographic phenomena.
Partnership and collaboration has been critical to the success of this project. We have had wonderful support from the ActionAid team in the DRC; the Australian High Commission Direct Aid Project, Harare, Zimbabwe; the commitment of Cheryl Mutabazi, our Ducere Foundation Co-ordinator in Kigali, Rwanda; our previous Head of African Operations Terri Irvin in South Africa, and our translator and Co-ordinator for Senegal, Dr Oumar Diouf.
We had planned to work in the schools on Idjwi Island but were stopped at the border, so most of the masterclass training of the ActionAid staff and the teachers from Idjwi took place in Kigali, Rwanda, where they benefitted from collaboration with colleagues at Wellspring Academy, who were already well versed in the program. It was exciting to see the benefits of this international exchange. The DRC collection has been published in both French and English and it is our hope it will become a vital literacy resource. Nshokano Kichele, from EP Kashofu, captured the hope of Ducere for all children of DRC when he wrote about the character in his story who: