|Ntaboba, before his surgery, with his aunt and mother.|
Ntaboba is 14, a slight boy with a wide smile that is often masked by his look of concentration. Ntaboba, who attends school with the help of Action Kivu’s education assistance program, is focused. Focused on school, on his dreams of becoming a doctor, and on walking without the crutches he used to depend upon. At age 14, he should be in grade 2 of secondary school, but because of physical setbacks, he is in grade 5 of primary school.
When he was six years old, Ntaboba, whose name means “no fear,” stepped on a live grenade in the jungle near his home in eastern Congo, mangling and twisting his leg, forcing him to walk with a metal pole for support, which further twisted his spine. Because of the injury, he often missed classes and fell behind in his education when he could not navigate the five kilometers to his school.
Margaret Johnson and Betty Merner, two Americans visiting their friend Dr. Victoria Bentley of Empower Congo Women, met Ntaboba in Mumosho, through Bentley’s work with Amani. They quickly connected to Ntaboba’s soft spirit and strong character,and were determined to do what they could to help him. Thanks to the emotional and financial support of these women and school kids they work with in Rhode Island, Ntaboba received a surgery on his leg from Heal Africa in Goma, a hospital renowned as one of only three referral hospitals in the DR Congo.
|Ntaboba, Summer 2012, after his surgery.|
Though the surgery was successful for as much damage had been done to his leg, Ntaboba still misses school during the rainy season, which turns the dirt roads of Mumosho into deep, slick mudslides.
According to Amani, there are few solutions to this problem. One is to board Ntaboba near the school, which costs around $400 USD each quarter. The longer-term sustainable solution is to find a place for his family to live after we build the Peace School. The Peace School will offer the traditional Congolese curriculum, as well as teach alternative courses in human rights, giving orphaned and vulnerable kids like Ntaboba a place to study and play in peace, growing the future generation of peace builders for Congo.(We’re currently working with Amani on a budget and outline for the cost to build and staff the school, looking to raise approximately $185,000 USD. More to come, soon!)
Ntaboba is doing his best to walk without crutches, determined to finish school so he can live his dream to become a doctor. No Fear.
Thanks to Margaret, Betty, the school kids of Rhode Island, and everyone who partners with us! It’s only through supporting each other that we make a difference.