Over the years the need to accommodate children from the other islands wanting to attend school has been increasing. This is due to the following reasons :
- Lack of schools on the home-island of the child
- The school on the island does not provide an adequate education or doesn’t function at all (no teachers, no financial means, etc.).
- The children stay with relatives. But in most cases it is difficult for the relatives to make ends meet and so they cannot feed an extra child.
Up to now we seem to be the only NGO on the archipelago that has been functioning well and so we have tried provide food for a group of students from the island Canhabaque. It concerns secondary-school students.
We received an annual budget of € 1.000,00 from Rotary Club “Antwerpen –Oost”. But the number of students kept on increasing and eventually we could no longer provide food for the whole group.
Moreover, there were more and more younger students (7 – 12 years old) .
The Dutch organisation “Bits for Kids” who also supports projects for children in developing countries allowed us to explain our dream to them and consequently they agreed to support us.
So we travelled to Bubaque with a clear mission : to look for a house with sufficient possibilities to transform it into a boarding school or to find a proper piece of land on which it could be built. Eventually we decided to go for the building plot.
The Education and Health Ministries have agreed to provide basic articles of food (rice, beans, potato-flocks and salt). We have to complete the menu with fresh products (fish and meat, vegetables, fruit) and other products (sugar, soap, toothpaste, etc.). We also have to pay the wages of the guard and the director plus the school fee, school equipment and the possible medical care of the children. And in order to guarantee the continuity of the boarding school we urgently need foster parents.
The electricity system (solar energy) was s by Solinq and was flown to Bissau by DHL for free (both firms are sponsors of Bits for Kids). Our good friend Georges De Buysere, member of Engineers without Frontiers, accompanied us in order to steer the system.
On 29th. February 2012 we were able to open the boarding school “Kasa Koia “(*)officially in the presence of the local authorities. The local and national press were represented by a journalist.
The monthly pays of the guard (20.000FCFA or € 30,53) and of the cook (15.000 FCF or € 22,90) are very low but at the moment we cannot afford to pay more. Nevertheless, these sums should be at least doubled after a short while. Ndao has enrolled a female director who is willing to lead the boarding school for 30.000 FCFA (€ 46,15) per month. However, this sum will have to be raised considerably in the near future if the number of children increases.
Our target is : beginning house 1(at the moment 7 children), school year 2015-2016; 2 houses (maximum 15 children) , school year 2016-2017; 3 houses (maximum 21 children). The maximum number is 30 children (10 per house).
In order to fulfil our dream, we have to find foster parents urgently who are willing to sponsor € 15 per child annually. The foundation “El dinero encontrado” agreed to support us to guarantee the functioning of the boarding school for the first period.
The boarding school of Bubaque is a big and important project to which a lot of people have contributed and thanks to which a lot of people and little people can look forward to a better life. We thank everyone who helped us to fulfil this dream!
Most important sponsors : Bits for Kids, foundation “El Dinero Encontrado”, Rotary Club Antwerpen-Oost, Engineers without Frontiers and our faithful foster parents : many thanks!
(*) Koia was a local “king” (traditionally head of a village, region or community) who was completely dedicated to his people. He died in 2011.
There is a lot to do! Our means are very limited: we chose to concentrate on the most urgent and realizable projects in education and health.
Apart from the running projects, which demand a continuity and consequently have to be financed over a longer period of time, we are planning a lot of other initiatives :