We're so thankful for our teachers on the ground day in and day out in Congo. Their work doesn't end when class is over- instead they inspire us with their tenacity and passion for creating a community where every child feels valued and taken care. They show us that this isn't just a job to them. They aren't just teachers, they're the first in a chain reaction that will lead to sustainable peace in Congo.
Nobody explains this better then Justice Rising's own Muhindo Pierrot. He moved to the poorest part of the city to be closer to those who need him the most. We sat down for a quick interview with Pierrot as he shared with us his passion on the importance of education in war-effected communities.
Can you tell us what is your favorite part of teaching?
"I love being involved with the lives of the children. Seeing the trust and transformation in our students over the years has been priceless. If I did this all my life, it would be well-worth it. This was the reason I moved to live here in this area. Many people did not understand my decision to live amongst the poorest in our city, but I get to be closer to them.
The best part of my job is engaging in house visits. We’re not just teachers in a school, we’re here to serve the community. Last year one of our children’s house caught fire and burnt down. It blessed my heart greatly to see how the teachers and students came together to encourage the affected family. People donated out of what little they had to help them rebuild their lives. I saw the fruit of all we’ve invested in come to life with the children’s responses towards their fellow schoolmate. It made me realize that we’ve created a family. A family that stands together for what is right, a family that students can count on in times of adversity.
We conduct house visits every Friday, and when the need arises. We also keep records of our students’ health and family circumstances. If they are sick and have been admitted to the hospital, we will visit them. It’s important to build an environment where the children feel safe and cared for, that’s what matters most."
Why do you think education important is so important in rebuilding communities?
"Our school is situated in the Ndosho quarter, the furthest quarter from the city center. The people who live in this area are refugees, people who have fled from war and killings in their villages to settle near Goma. We are reaching the poorest of the poor. Some of our students don’t even have proper houses to live in. When we first started, many of them couldn’t remember when they had last showered, and the level of hygiene was very low. There are so many benefits to education- at its simplest, it can stop disease and death. On a larger scale, students are granted opportunities to break the cycle of hopelessness and given a future. It’s an intervention where mentalities of aggression are changed to honesty; negativity to hope; destruction to productivity. We are changing lives."
The care and attention our teachers give to their students is life-changing. They are role models of peace, someone our kids can look up to and trust, leaders who instill values of compassion, confidence, and community. Every time we sit and talk with our teachers about the changes they're seeing in our kids and the communities we work in, they inspire all to keep pushing forward.