Nguvu Yetu Center for Special Education for Deaf Discriminated Children

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The vision of CENYESED in Congo's Eastern Province originated from the experience of the Reverand Kamonyo and his wife Beatrice. Kamonyo grew up in this rural area of Congo, becoming deaf at the age of fourteen, and saw for himself the numbers of deaf people who were mostly hidden and neglected throughout these villages. As experienced sign-language users, Kamonyo and Beatrice were determined that this should change. Having sought God's direction and then received official authorisation in 1996, after many attempts, they set up the first class for deaf children in 2009 in the rural village of Kiwanja in the district of Rutshuru.

From this simple beginning CENYESED was born, assisted by a gift from the local government of a one-hectare piece of land in Rutshuru. The war then raging about that area made development very difficult, with their first teacher taken away by a militia. However, a second piece of land was given to them by the local government, this time in the city of Goma, which was to become the training centre for the organisation.

In 2010, with the war abating, a full board was formed and the first deaf school was formally opened in Rutshuru with 36 children and three teachers. With no money to pay the teachers, Kamonyo and Beatrice sold their house in Kisangani to provide a much-needed cash flow for the school. In 2012 the UN/MONUSCO mission provided funds to build the first full school on the land at Rutshuru but, before this could be safely completed, a ferocious storm battered the site and tore it down. However, the death of the head teacher the following year led to his family gifting his house and land to the organisation, and it was this house that was converted into the school in Rutshuru district.

Through many challenges, this school continued to grow, operating an outreach programme into the wider rural areas and opening a technical programme in Goma to develop skills in carpentry, masonry and shoe making. In 2017 the UN World Food Programme agreed to provide food support for the 92 children in the school.

CENYESED now has three schools under its wing. During the Genocide, Elavanie, the founder of Umutara Deaf School in Rwanda, went to live with Kamonyo and Beatrice, her uncle and aunt. This gave birth to her desire to open her own school on her return. Kamonyo, who participated in the business-planning process for FHR in Rwanda, requested a similar process for CENYESED. Our International Director, Howard, worked with the team at the start of 2019. Arising from this planning came a decision to turn the school in Goma into a resource for deaf-blind children.

Our ongoing cooperation with CENYESED will include a Business Plan for this new development, plus ongoing training in organisational management, income generation, and help with setting up a website.