As children return to school for the next step in their education, it seems fitting to introduce the education occurring at the St. Kizito School and two of the children benefitting from the Congo Kids Initiative Education Fund.
Within the St. Kizito School, there was a desire expressed from students to continue into higher education. As Michael Hrzic, one the founders of the Congo Kids Initiative Education Fund, says, “ In talking with the older children at the orphanage, I realized that they truly need options to get outside so that they could learn to take care of themselves and others.” Thus, The CKI Education Fund was then created.
Early funding was secured to launch the program with two students, to be selected by the St. Kizito school teachers. Seeing great potential in Josephine Neema and Juve Ngave Brigitte, two female students, they the teachers named them for the pilot program. Neema and Juve both chose to enter into medical vocational school, as they were given the opportunity to choose the path in which they were most interested. Through this fund the women are guaranteed paid tuition within their chosen field with the sole condition that they must pass their exams.
Neema and Juve were also provided with a mentor, Elyse Pifwa. She has provided guidance and support throughout their first school year and acted as a connection between CKI and the students. This support is key so that Neema and Juve know they have support through all of these new experiences.
One of the first, and most interesting hurdles that the students had to tackle was the significant travel time to the university, which is quite far from the orphanage. Instead of letting this discourage them, the girls and the mentor came up with the solution of driving a motorcycle to school, which CKI was able to purchase. The first lesson after high school for both of them was learning to drive a motorcycle, making the commute to school easier and safer!
Recently, CKI received letters from the students describing what they had learned during their first year at university. Neema chose a medical path in laboratory work and Juve chose a path in pediatric medicine. In her letter, Juve expressed that she is now able to consult a child that is sick and provide him with treatment through taking his or her temperature, putting in a catheter, inserting an IV drip, and give injections into muscles and veins. Neema wrote that she is now able to take a blood sample, to perform malaria and tuberculosis tests, to check the group and rhesus of a blood sample, and check the hemoglobin of a blood sample. Both Neema and Juve have made significant progress and are currently focusing on their exams that occur in September. They thank the CKI Education Fund for the support it has provided to them.
CKI has committed to continuing this college experience for Neema and Juve – and to expanding the opportunity to other residents at St. Kizito Orphanage. We hope that you will join us in this effort. As one Chicago supporter expressed, “After learning about the St. Kizito Orphanage, and hearing about the older girls aging out of its care, we decided to contribute to the CKI education fund in order to support scholarships for these strong young ladies. As we have benefitted from generous scholarships over the course of our American educations, we are happy to be able to "pay it forward" in a way by helping these students on their journey.”
In keeping with the “back to school” theme, CKI is launching a “Back to school” fundraising campaign to help us support St. Kizito at every level of their studies. For further details, visit the Congo Kids Initiative Facebook Page or http://www.congokidsinitiative.org.