HomeExaminerExaminer NewsAllentown resident works to help fund school construction in Africa

Allentown resident works to help fund school construction in Africa

ALLENTOWN – A high school teacher who lives in Allentown is leading an effort to improve educational opportunities for children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in central Africa by having a new school built.

Dan Torsiello, 34, said he started the Kivu Project to develop a new school for Mushaki, a rural village in the DRC. He is trying to raise $10,000 by October to advance the project. Construction of the school is scheduled to begin in late October and take a month to complete.

Torsiello said he is planning to return to the DRC for the final two weeks of construction and to help open the school in November.

“By building the village a new school with proper facilities, we are aiming to provide (the children) with the tools and motivation to finish school and to work for a better and safer future,” he said.

As of April 26, $5,100 had been donated to the effort. Donations may be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-build-a-school-in-rural-africa

Torsiello, who has been a resident of Allentown since 2017, is a history teacher at Central Regional High School in Bayville, Ocean County.

An avid traveler who has visited more than 60 countries, Torsiello journeyed to the DRC in 2021 and participated in volunteer work. He helped to donate more than 3,000 pounds of food to three orphanages in the city of Goma.

Torsiello was guided through Goma by Christian Aganze of Congo Local Guides. During their time together, Torsiello and Aganze visited Mushaki, where Torsiello discovered that the village’s school was inadequate for instruction.

He described the facility as “nothing more than some clapboard and corrugated metal” with missing walls, no desks, no supplies and no toilet facilities.

Torsiello and Aganze subsequently discussed the idea of coming up with a plan to build a new school in Mushaki.

Aganze worked with a local engineer and builder to design a modern wood and concrete school that would contain six classrooms, two offices and four bathrooms.

The cost of the new school will be $8,300 and Torsiello is seeking to raise an additional $1,700 to cover any overages and unforeseen costs.

Any funds that remain after construction has been completed will be used to purchase school supplies, hygiene supplies and clothing for the children.

As noted on the Kivu Project website, the new school is intended to give the children of Mushaki the opportunity to obtain an education that will help them gain admission to a secondary school in a larger and safer area in the DRC.

“Schools not only provide educational opportunities, but in this part of the world a school provides safety,” Torsiello said. “Primary school education takes place in villages, secondary education takes places in towns and tertiary education takes place in cities.

“As children advance, and many don’t because of a lack of opportunities or facilities, they will go to larger towns and cities. This brings them closer to and eventually within the purview of United Nations peacekeepers. Providing a school provides protection,” he said.

More information about the Kivu Project can be found at: https://www.thekivuproject.org/

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