La Synergie des Association Feminines du Congo (Synergy of Congolese Women's Associations, or SAFECO) is a Congolese NGO founded in 2012 to strengthen individual capacities. In 2015, SAFECO embraced a separate endeavor now known as Rwenena Kids (formerly run by AMCAV, 2011-2015). SAFECO provides oversight and program management in conjunction with the U.S. founder and director of Rwenena Kids. The program is small with a limited but impactful scope.
With input from a 7th-grade social justice class, our founder and director, Neema Namadamu, conceived the idea to provide education for vulnerable communities in Eastern Congo. She has five years of experience working with Congolese leaders and communities. Based in Washington, DC, she keeps informed about international education developments through symposia, seminars, meetings, and other events concerning global education.
We provide vulnerable children in the remote and marginalized village of Rwenena (Ruh-NEHN-uh) with a primary school education. SAFECO serves the children of survivors of sexual violence, along with other vulnerable and stigmatized groups, including, but not limited to, orphans, people with albinism, Persons with Disabilities, and those without ways to pay school fees.
Rwenena is a remote and marginalized village located close to the Burundian border in the Ruzizi Plain of South Kivu, eastern DR Congo. Once the site of a refugee camp during the First Congo War, Rwenena suffered mass, ethnic-motivated killings of people from DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi. Killings and conflict continued in the Second Congo War. For now, tensions have eased. Sexual violence has been a longstanding problem, and SAFECO strives to help the children of survivors. Rwenena Kids has been supporting children at the Rwenena Primary School since 2011.
More on scope:
-We have built this program with the goal of maintaining a 6-year, fixed budget, allowing a total of 6 classes of students to attend school from first grade, then re-evaluate future feasibility. We continue to sustain about 30 children from our earlier program through the end of primary school.
-We pay school fees for the families that cannot afford to do so, and provide uniforms, shoes, book bags, and school supplies.
-Supplemental, after-school sessions for struggling learners
-A new Sport for Peace component serving rising 1st graders in the summer along with a gentle introduction to classroom learning and the entire school during the academic year