AFRICA/DR CONGO - St. Anthony's School of Padua in Boma to rescue abandoned children

Thursday, 19 April 2018 school   missionaries  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has been experiencing a generalized crisis for decades. The entire socio-economic fabric has deteriorated over the years. In this context, the Catholic Church has intervened in the field of education, health and various other fields of social action. In the city of Boma, Fr. Roger Pholo is one of the priests who dedicated himself to education to guarantee a future for the children thanks to the St. Antonio school in Padua, of which he is the co-founder.
The school is located in the district of Sindi, a shanty town in the city of Boma, separated from the rest of the city by the river, in which hundreds of families from all over the province have settled, leaving their villages hoping to find work in the city. Unfortunately, their desire to find a better life was shattered in the face of the existing reality in Boma.
The children of this district are forced to walk for more than 5 km to find the first school in the area. This situation forces children to abandon their studies. "When Fr. Roger Pholo started the pastoral work in our neighborhood, he could not remain indifferent to our misery. There was no electricity or running water. There was not even a school, where hundreds of school-age children live. So he decided to do something concrete to save our children's future", says a parent.
Fr. Roger brought together neighbors and some friends to create the Association of the Works for Disadvantaged Children (Œuvres pour l'enfance défavorisée OED). Thanks to OED, the St. Antonio school in Padua opened its doors in September 2016 with 4 primary level classes. The other classes followed during the school years.
Today the school has 10 classes and 225 pupils. A pump installed in the school's gardens provides water to the neighborhood and children can do their homework and play in the school building gardens even after sunset.
But Father Roger is far from satisfied: "I want to offer these children a decent learning environment, some buildings are unplastered and without floors. All this work is necessary to ensure a dignified infrastructure for the good of our children". (P.M.B.) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/4/2018)