Jacky Buhoro has been blessed with eight healthy children of her own and yet many more children are lucky enough to call her mother. In 2004, one of Jacky and Jacob’s sons asked his parents to pay the fees for an orphan in his class. That was the beginning of Jacky and Jacob’s ministry to orphans…
Years of violence in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have left many orphans, fatherless children, and widows in need of assistance in Jacob Lipandasi and Jacky’s border town community of Bakuvu. Responding to the need, Jacky and Jacob, who is a SIA Small Business Fund Coordinator, now care for 25 additional children in their home and in other host families in their community. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jacky about her service; here is a longer version of the interview, which is excerpted in the SIA Spring/Summer 2010 Newsletter.
*We are deeply thankful for a grant from the Charles Wentz Carter Memorial Foundation, which enabled SIA to support Jacky’s school for orphans and other vulnerable children. THANK YOU!
1. Tanya: Tell me about your family.
Jacky: I am the eldest daughter of my family. My parents have given birth to 8 children including 6 girls and 2 boys. When I met Jacob, he was already mentoring orphans of the first church he led in our hometown. In my family with Jacob we have produced 8 children (2 girls and 6 boys). In 2004, our son, Philippe KOKO Lipandasi (our 5th child) asked us to pay school fees for an orphan in his class who could not pay for it. This is the beginning of our ministry to orphans.
2. Tanya: When did you first accept orphans in your family?
Jacky: After the war of the RCD (Congolese Rally for Democracy) families traveled with orphans and abandoned them in the street as they were unable to take charge. First we hosted 3 girls and one boy (4 fatherless) and a widow in other fatherless families in our community. The community knew that we accompany the orphans. Now we have up to 25 orphans in our family and in several other host families.
3. Tanya: Tell me about your work with orphans.
Jacky: To help these orphans living with us to study, I organized a nursery school. It helps my orphans and also other children of vulnerable families without access to public schools (because their parents are unable to pay). During the holidays the older could come and learn trades (carpentry) in the studio of Jacob with other orphans. Praise the Lord! Before, students who completed kindergarten were directed to public schools and Jacob could pay for them. But now we do not have the funds to continue this. As the curricula of these schools do not have the same goal as our training: I started primary school to continue our vision to support the most vulnerable.
4. Tanya: What are the biggest challenges for schools and teachers in DRC?
Jacky : A) Education in the DRC: The exclusion of the poorest in the education system. The girls, especially orphans have no easy access to school education. Schools provide teaching theory without practice as there are no materials. Only the rich kids access to quality training and focused. Lack of school library. Schools (especially rural) lack access to computers and especially the Internet. B) Important Challenges Teacher DRC: The Congolese government does not pay public officials in general and teachers in particular. The school is supported by parents when they are able. However, 80% of teachers are unemployed and others work without wages.
5. Tanya: How do the Women’s Garden Project and your school work together to help children?
Jacky: The community garden project for women helps us a lot to feed orphans. They help us with vegetables in their crops. It serves as a demonstration site to help children understand the importance of gardens and the role of working together.
6. Tanya: Tell me about how you and Jacob work together in your projects to help others.
Jacky: We organize our time to visit the poorest of our communities and put our attention to widows, orphans and disabled in our pastoral ministry. With the support of Spirit in Action, we organized the community garden and piggery for the widows. We initiated the widows to plant trees and banana trees, because before it was taboo for a woman to do in our communities.
7. Tanya: Is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself or your work?
Jacky: I want to have additional training in the care of orphans and vulnerable groups to improve the quality of my services to others. Thank you for your support.