We’ve built Sibatwa secondary school (Institute Sibatwa) immediately outside Lusenda refugee camp, providing some desperately-needed classroom space for young Burundian refugees.

Our Congolese partners, Eben-Ezer Ministry International (EMI), have just held a ceremony to officially open the school building (photos below). Lessons will be starting at the end of this month, as soon as the classroom furniture is ready.

Meet the students

We met Keicha, Liesse, Mwamini and Olivier who will be attending the school. They can't wait to use their new classrooms.

Sibatwa students. From left to right; Keicha, Liesse, Mwamini and Olivier
“We didn’t think it was possible that we would get our own school. We are so happy that we have.”

The building

The new building has been built to the highest standards – a solid, waterproof building, built to last. Its six classrooms will give up to 200 secondary-age children, both Congolese and Burundian, a place to learn. 

It’s the condition of emergency classrooms like these (built to accommodate young Burundian refugees) that drove us to build the new Sibatwa School
One of Sibatwa's six new classrooms
The school is located right outside Lusenda Refugee Camp – making it easy (and safer) for young Burundian refugees to get to the school. You can see refugee shelters in the background


As is always with the case when we open a new school in DR Congo, the celebrations, singing and dancing were beautiful.

Students put on a wonderful dance performance at the opening ceremony
Mr Ebuela Eca W’Elumbe
“We are all very happy to have the new building at Institut Sibatwa. This is the first fully-equipped and completed secondary school in Lusenda. We are expecting a large enrolment at the start of the new term and a big increase in staff motivation and engagement, particularly given all the teaching materials and resources we’ve received.”
Ebuela Eca W’Elumbe, head teacher of Sibatwa

Next steps

Lessons will start at the end of this month, once the school furniture is built. Students are also establishing a school enterprise and will be rearing pigs to generate a profit to feed back into their school. One of Institute Sibatwa’s specialisms is agriculture studies and so this will be excellent experience, they’ll be well-placed to make a real success of the business.

Read more

Supporting young Burundian refugees and struggling Congolese schools.
Photo story
An update from Bibangwa, DR Congo, where the roof is working its way along the building and classroom desks are being made!
Case study
How do you survive as a young, unaccompanied refugee in Lusenda camp? Make a new family.