Across the world, more than 115 million children are unable to attend school. Sabine Plattner African Charities aims to bring education that can be applied to real life to the remotest villages deep within the jungle. We are also opening up access to elementary schooling in societies with low levels of education in order to offer not only children but also their parents the chance to improve their circumstances. By providing locally-based training in teaching methods and theory for instructors, we are offering something completely new and unique within Congo. Thanks to our long-term support for the establishment of educational facilities and processes, children and teachers become drivers of education through their own dynamism and motivation.
Sabine Plattner African Charities has achieved a number of successes since it first started working in Congo in May 2013:
Spotlight on Mbomo
Four-year-old Ridelvy from Mbomo was one of the first children to be enrolled by his parents. Yet despite his bright and inquisitive nature, Ridelvy did not have an easy start: He found it difficult to concentrate and to mix well with the other children, to the point that the lively boy was always rubbing others up the wrong way. Instead of using harsh words and punishments, as is customary elsewhere, we worked together to shift the focus onto Ridelvy’s strengths, develop strategies for him to control his emotions, and make this part of his daily routine. Today the boy is in the first grade in the elementary school and is the third best in his year group of 300 children.
Spotlight on Olleme
The pygmy village of Olleme is home to around 20 families, and lies in the jungle, surrounded by 50-meter high trees. There are few prospects for the inhabitants: Ever-increasing numbers of villagers are leaving for the nearest larger settlements. In order to stem this tide, the government began to build a school building out of bricks, but it is still awaiting completion and a reliable teacher. We proposed to the village elders that we visit the village every two weeks with the SPAC Education Mobile and hold classes in the shade of a centrally located tree. They were interested and keen to accept. As soon as the Land Cruiser arrived in Olleme, lots of enthusiastic villagers banded together to provide a special learning environment for their kindergarten-aged children. Using interactive methods, the teachers impart the material that is commonly taught in state-run kindergartens to the children, thus preparing them for grade school. The activities include learning games involving colors and numbers, and arts and crafts in small groups, while the little ones are taught to identify different plants using all five of their senses.
Spotlight on Ebana
The new SPAC satellite preschool, a traditional hut made of branches, is to be called Alemba. The village children have progressed in leaps and bounds and now speak better French than their parents. With guidance from the teachers, they are learning to work in small groups, enhancing their creativity through free play, and improving their verbal expression and social conduct. Consideration of others, the ability to settle arguments, and willingness to compromise are all encouraged. We teach them to wash their hands regularly and not to throw trash on the floor, encourage them to eat fruit and vegetables, and explain to their parents why fried meat is not suitable for children’s stomachs – a discovery that so surprised one mother that she has been attending classes ever since and working with us on a voluntary basis. Recently, she has even applied to SPAC to be a teacher at the new satellite school.