I want to warmly thank you for visiting the Go Campaign’s fund-raising page for the Lumumba Children’s Library and Learning Center (LCL). If you are here, you probably heard about this from a friend, or perhaps you were pestered by one of my family members, or maybe learned about it through your school. Or, you could be one of the many souls who are interested in the disastrous history and catastrophic present of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Regardless of how you got here, I sincerely hope that you will decide to donate to an incredibly unique project poised to influence the next generations of youth in one of the world’s most dangerous, but potentially dynamic, regions. The overarching goal of the LCL is to prepare children, most of whom cannot afford to attend school on a regular basis, to learn the tenets of critical thinking. In a country run by corrupt leaders, over-run by violent warlord, and systematically pillaged of its abundant natural resources by international corporations, literate, tech-savvy, and intellectually curious young people can become a force of reason and compassion in a place beset by hopelessness and resignation. Now, we are engaged in fundraising for phase one, to get the structure built! This will accomplish getting the basic structure up, the roof installed, and high-security wall and gate built. Details on the operational plan, facilities design, and much more can be found on our website: http://www.congolibrary.org/. Shipping containers, which will be the basic structure of the LCL, have already been donated! The opportunity to be part of this remarkable dream, and the plans we have for enhanced learning programs for Congolese children, is the most exciting and meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. Please join me.
The goal of the Lumumba Children’s Library and Learning Center (LCL) project is to create an educational, cultural, and social space for underserved youth in the provincial capital of Goma in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
There is no public library in Goma, a city of more than one million people, and most children do not attend school on a regular or sustained basis. The estimated number of youth able to benefit from the LCL is roughly 25,000. While the LCL is not a replacement for traditional schools, it will encourage the sharing of information and foster critical thinking through a variety of programs, including computer and language classes, community events, and a lending library. While many of these classes will be taught in the national languages of French and Swahili, there will also be a focus on learning English to broaden children’s chances for higher education and regional employment as they get older. Online access to resources such as the Sorbonne and National Library of Congress will promote greater cultural exchange and enhance children’s exposure to broader experiences while preparing them for opportunities in the multilingual sphere of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
The LCL operation will be overseen by Fidel Bafilemba, a polyglot and highly regarded member of Goma’s civil society. Fidel has been an English teacher and academic, and it is his passion and patriotism that has inspired the creation of the LCL. The staff will include: 2 round-the-clock security guards, 1 receptionist, 2 janitorial staff, 1 office manager, 1 librarian, and 1 IT manager.
The LCL will be open daily and will be a self-sufficient facility, capturing rainwater and generating its own solar power. Fidel has already purchased a plot of land and worked with Congolese engineer and builder Placide Mumbere to conduct site inspections and price materials.
The LCL structure will be a large, single-story, well-ventilated building comprised of seven, forty-foot shipping containers donated by the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in eastern Congo (MONUSCO). Cobo Construction and VIA Design Studio of Miami who have generously provided unique and elegant architectural designs and renderings of what will become the LCL.
The LCL will be built and supported by foreign donations and grants and, once established, will seek permanent funding from local and national agencies in the DRC as well as international foundations. There will be a modest, one-time fee for “membership.” To support the project, schools around the United States have held drives for books and materials, and an estimated 10,000 books have already been collected. In return for substantial donations of money or materials, there are a variety of sponsorship opportunities and a selection of naming rights options.