In 2002, as I was visiting Goma, the capital city of the North-Kivu province, I stopped at the Lycée Amani, an elite and top notch sciences school for girls. I learned the plight of young girls who could not attend school because their parents could not afford $7.00 a month for tuition. In staying home, they risk to be victim of rape by soldiers or rebels. I decided to sponsor two girls for the year.
When I returned back to the US, I began to collect funds from friends, colleagues, my church and my school. The funds were sent to the school principal who would identify those girls who were struggling to attend school for lack of seven dollars a month. Some had already dropped from school! Project Lycée Amani to help disadvantaged girls go and stay in school, from secondary school to college was born. Even when some girls could not sustain the challenging sciences curriculum in Lycée Amani, they were advised to go to another school where math and science were not the core curriculum. But they never lost their scholarship; the Project continued to assist them up to college of their choice.
In addition to tuition, the Project began to provide lunch to students since many families hardly provided two meals a day to their children.
In the same year, I met Mrs. Libambu Schiller whose husband was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Zaïre (DRCongo); we had worked together at the training center in Bukavu, the capital city of South-Kivu. Mrs. Schiller was originally from Lisala, in western region of Equateur, in D.R. Congo. She had created and managed a non-profit organization, AZEA, Association of Zaïrean Congolese in America. Its objective was to help new Congolese adjust to life in the United States and collect funds to help people in Zaïre especially when a disaster had struck the homeland. Mrs. Schiller and I agreed that there was no need to create a new non-profit to house the new project for Girls in Goma. Project Lycée Amani became part of AZEA. Sadly, in 2005, Mrs. Libambu Schiller, a lady of character and integrity with a passionate and profound love of our homeland, passed away. Project Lycée Amani continued its mission within the non-profit.
In 2012, Mrs. Marcia Rich and Miss Sara Rich reached out to me; they wanted to brainstorm ways to improve education in the war torn African Great Lakes Region, especially the D.R. Congo. At the time, Miss Sara Rich was a teacher in Congo first in Kinshasa and then in Goma. Mrs. Marcia Rich was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the early eighties. After a series of reflections and considerations was born EduCorps, a non-profit which objectives were to contribute to the betterment of the education system in Congo by introducing Teachers coaching module in addition to continue fostering girls’ education in secondary school and college in the war torn eastern Great Lakes Region.
Dr. Murutamanga L. Kabahita