April, 2020

Dear Friends,

Tragedy has struck the people of Uvira (DRCongo). Due to heavy rains in March and April, the Mulongwe river overflowed its banks on April 17th and damaged or destroyed over 15,000 homes in Uvira. According to the UN, 38 people died in the flooding, and an estimated 70,000 people have been displaced. Our director and his assistant have lost everything in their homes except a few clothes, some furniture and their cellphones. Everything else has been lost. Since school is not in session due to Covid-19, several of the displaced deaf families are sheltering at our school, waiting for permanent space to become available.

Assistant Director Shindano Andreshico surveying his flood-damaged home
Director Pililo Amani assessing his destroyed homes and belongings

In our plans to expand our current school, we are considering adding space for the director’s family to live on campus. Pray for wisdom and favor as we work to expedite construction. The Covid-19 lockdown had increased the cost of food and construction materials, and the flood damage is causing prices to soar even higher. Pray that tranquility will be restored to this heavily damaged region of the Congo.

In Chad, Director Yves Besso reports they’re making good use of the Covid-19 school closing in order to keep their building projects moving at a healthy clip. Although funds have dried up a bit for the new 2-story multi-purpose building, materials and funds are still available for smaller structures like storage buildings, new toilet facilities, etc. These buildings are made of cheaper construction materials, so we’re still able to continue construction on these buildings while waiting for funds on the larger multi-purpose building. Pray that all the main construction will be complete by the time school opens this fall.

In Nigeria, things are a bit more rocky. Director Emmanuel Ilabor reports that not only have parents pulled their kids out of school, but most parents have stopped paying their tuition while their kids are out of school due to Covid-19. Unlike Chad and the Congo, Nigeria has a robust economy – the best of African countries. While we cover 80%-90% of Chad and Congolese school costs at all times, Nigerian parents of deaf children are more able (and willing) to shoulder more of the cost to educate their children and therefore our Nigerian school requires less foreign financial support. But now that the parents aren’t paying tuition in Nigeria, the faculty and staff are facing dire financial needs. Pray that the parents – who are surely facing their own financial challenges – will continue to partner with the faculty and staff even when school is not in session.

Truly, your prayers are coveted.

Tim Foster
Christian Mission for the Deaf