Rebuilding schools destroyed by the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption

Dorcas can dream once again about becoming a ship’s captain, thanks to the rebuilding of his school in Goma.

Une élève assise sur un banc
27 June 2022

Thousands of homes were destroyed by the lava in Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when the Nyiragongo volcano erupted in May 2021. "The sky was completely red that night and I was too scared", said 10 year old Dorcas, who found refuge with his family in the neighbouring town of Sake. "When we came back, there were no more houses or schools as everything had been burned down", continued Dorcas sadly. 

Des élèves jouent dans la cour de leur école.

The Nziyi Primary School was totally destroyed and the student feared he would not be able to finish his school year. With support from the government of Norway, UNICEF set up temporary classrooms three weeks after the volcanic eruption and launched a school reconstruction program. "We started classes again in another school in a tent", explained Dorcas who also received school supplies.

Des élèves assis sur un banc.

Less than a year after the Nyiragongo volcanic eruption, Dorcas and his friend Daniella are attending classes again in a modular and expandable school built with local materials. "I really like the new classrooms, they are large and we all have our own space", explained Daniella sitting on her own bench. A total of 30 classrooms were built and equipped in five schools, allowing hundreds of students to attend school in the proper conditions.

Une élève assise sur un banc.

Rebuilding educational infrastructures is crucial for affected children to regain a sense of normalcy in their lives, to increase their self-esteem and to build their own future. UNICEF has trained teachers on peace education, psychosocial support and other topics to improve the teaching of children in schools. Students and teachers were taught about the risks of natural catastrophes.

"I am happy knowing I will soon finish primary school and go to secondary. My dream is to become a ship’s captain", added Dorcas.