Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Congo special school lacks resources amid pandemic

Copyright © africanews


A school in the African state of Congo that has provided free education to children and young people with physical and mental difficulties for more than 40 years is struggling to stay afloat after the pandemic caused donations to dry up and some teachers to quit.

The school principal says the global COVID-19 crisis has had a big impact on the school financially.

In previous years much of support for the teachers' salaries had been coming from an organization in France, but now teachers have only been paid irregularly.

"They have problems over there too, more serious ones than here in Congo," said the principal, Fernand Blaise Kondani. "So that is why we have suffered a little, but we have held on."

The institution, which opened in the capital Brazzaville in 1975, had been relying on donations from France, but now faces one of its biggest challenges: staying open.

Since the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, the school has seen a huge reduction in the amount of money coming in. Some of the teachers left and it now relies on volunteers to continue giving classes.

Some students are enrolled and learn to read and write in French, and some are taught vocational skills such as carpentry.

"The special school gave me what I didn't have. I couldn't read or write. Today I can write a word and someone else can read it," said student Charvy Matingou. "Work too, I didn't know anything, I learned carpentry, I did four years here."

At the school, people are shown gaining skills - a woman sews garments and some of the men practice working with wood.

Kondani said even the smallest donations would help.

"So if people of goodwill can help us by even giving us a needle, it will be very beneficial for the school," he said.