Jacques* lives in the beautiful yet remote region of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His homeland suffered some of the worst violence during the civil war, and his family are still vulnerable to on-going ethnic violence. Few other organisations work in his community because it is so difficult to access, and villagers must walk a whole day to get to Uvira, the nearest market town.
The area of South Kivu is remote and hard to access and it is a days walk to access the larger markets. This means that enterprising students can make a profit by buying things in the large markets to sell locally. Photo © Mike Tinney
Because of the remoteness of the area, there is little in the way of government support and schools are underfunded. We are working with these poorly resourced schools to generate real profits to support their classrooms. The School Enterprise Programme provides schools with a sustainable source of funding, and gives students like Jacques the chance to gain hands on experience of running a real business, helping them gain the confidence and skills required to navigate adult life. Girls especially, thrive at the chance to take leadership roles.

Jacques’s school, Complexe Scolaire Lumiere (CSL), was selected to enter the programme because they had the highest levels of academic achievement in the region. The students and their teachers began by being guided through basic business skills, including how to write a business plan to help make their innovative ideas come to life.

children with goats
The students and their healthy herd of goats, several of the goats are already pregnant and it is expected that the herd will increase considerably over the coming year.

All the school students and teachers had a part to play in generating ideas for their enterprise, with a committee of six students (3 boys and 3 girls) having the final say. Business ideas included trading in sugar, growing cabbages, running a hair salon and opening a cinema. In the end the children settled on purchasing phone credit in Uvira to sell locally for a profit, and raising goats.

Phone credit sales proved a success. 30 students honed their sales skills together and made a total profit of $25, which was reinvested into purchasing stationary to sell at the beginning of next term. The remaining money was invested in a small but growing herd of eight goats. This enterprise will be self-sustaining, and will grow and develop each year into an income generating activity for the school.

Jacques has now generated enough income from his business to pay for his own school books for the next school term.

Jacques was so inspired by the success of his team in the School Enterprise Programme that he has started his own small business. He asked his parents for a loan of 7000 Congolese francs (about £7). He purchased Aubergines at bulk prices in Uvira, and then walked the long journey home to sell them for a profit of 2000 francs in his local village market. He has paid back his parents and will use his earnings to buy himself school books and supplies for the upcoming term.

With your help we can continue inspiring children like Jacques to invest in their own education and gain the confidence and skills which will help them flourish in their adult lives.

*The names and often pictures of children have been changed in accordance with our child protection policy.

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