Proreso School for the Deaf in Bunia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a triumph of tenacity in the face of upheaval and adversity.
The school was established in 1984 but faced its greatest challenge almost two decades later. In 2001, the local chief decided that his tribe alone should live in Bunia. He drove 5,000 people out, including most of Proreso’s teachers and students. The school was forced to close.
By the end of 2002, most of the exiles had returned to Bunia. One of Proreso School’s directors gathered the students and teachers together and restarted classes outside, under trees and tarpaulin. The school grew from there and eventually moved into a small building. The dedicated teachers worked for eight whole years without any payment until the school was able to start paying their salaries.
Several of the school’s current teachers and staff are former pupils and/or have disabilities themselves. The house parents working in the school’s dormitories, Esperance and Buki, have visual and hearing impairments, respectively.
Currently the Bunia area is, once again, reeling from the impact of war. Many children have been displaced recently and were not attending school. To address the situation, UNICEF appealed to all the local schools to take in more children. Proreso answered the call and opened its doors.
The proportion of deaf pupils within the student body has fallen over the past year as the school has welcomed more children. Proreso remains focused on teaching sign language to all its pupils; they see the recent expansion as an opportunity to integrate deaf children further into society and to teach sign language more widely.
Accomplish supports Proreso School by providing grants for food costs and for some of the teachers’ salaries, as well as one-off items such as furniture. If you would like to make a donation to Proreso School, please donate to Accomplish online using Enthuse (https://accomplishchildrenstrust.enthuse.com/profile) and please write a message specifying that your donation is for Proreso. To find out about other ways to donate, please visit our website's 'GIVE' page.