Transformational Perspectives: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa

This issue of OnPractice is taking a slightly different format than normal as we hear from one of our school leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Heritier Fima will share with us his perspective on what Transformational Education looks like. A complete transcript (in English) can be found after the video.

I want to say a big hello to you. My name is Heritier Fima, and I am the administrator (Head) here at the Fateb Kinshasa Academy. We’re very happy to be partners with TeachBeyond who really has at their centre a vision to transform and use education as a means to transform children’s lives.

Kinshasa is a big city with a lot of people and a lot of schools. There are things that are particular to our school. Most schools in this area teach subjects like science, maths, and even Bible, but it’s hard to really find what makes that school different. And do we see a difference? So a lot of these schools really struggle with integrating their faith in the daily lessons in a very practical way–in how we prepare and what we teach. That is a struggle in most of the schools in our area here in Kinshasa.

This is what makes the Fateb Kinshasa Academy hopefully different from other schools. We believe that we can integrate God’s Word and God’s values, even at a very young age (3, 4,and 5 year olds) and that’s what makes a difference.

So [a] Christian worldview is really what we are talking about. We believe that it’s not only in the classrooms with these young children, but we also want to integrate it with our administration, the people working for our safety, [and with those] who cook and clean. So it’s at all different levels that Christian values and worldviews should be integrated in all things in the school. So if we don’t live that, and reflect these values, how are our children going to learn these things?

In French there is an expression (and I’m not sure if the translation is going to work), the beautiful woman gives the best that she has.

We see a change in children who came and did not know about or even think about asking for forgiveness if they hurt their little classmate, and now we see changes in those things where they are living their values as well. We are having children memorise by heart and carry God’s Word in their hearts. Parents are surprised and so pleasantly pleased, they even sometimes think, is this school or a church? because of the way that their children are taking home things from the Bible. There is a change in their lives, and that we emphasise that here.

DRCAnd a little bit of advice I can give other schools who are maybe trying to implant this Christian worldview in their schools. Let’s be patient with the children we are trying to develop. As we teach these things, it takes time for these things to really implant. Those seeds need to take root in their hearts and to see them grow. Sometimes change happens fast, and sometimes other things take a long time and it is a slow development. Be patient with those children so that we can see and have faith. Be patient, and pray for these children, that we see a change and transformation in their lives. We need to surround them, love them, and walk beside them as they walk towards a future where they will also make an impact on others around them.

This is what we wanted to say with the things that are happening here at the Fateb Kinshasa Academy.

Heritier Fima
Administrator, FATEB Kinshasa Academy
TeachBeyond DRC

Translation: Tamera Peters, School Start-up Consultant
Transcription: Chelsea VanBuskirk, School Services
Photo Credit: FATEB Kinshasa Academy