The vision of HCLS from it’s inception has been to provide the very best education possible to the parentless and vulnerable children of Bunia. The reality that continues to foster this vision is that the HCLS Hope Complex primary and secondary schools continue to be the best schools in Bunia (and the surrounding region) as measured by the Congolese education authorities through quarterly assessments. This passionate commitment to high standards of education opened up the main pathway to self-sustainability for the HOPE Complex Schools, through the Funds For Hope (FFH) initiative.
In response to the academic success and progressively improving educational environment of the HCLS Hope Complex schools, members of the Bunia community have been seeking entrance for their children to offer better education opportunities than the available alternatives. While these approaches were initially resisted, it became evident that the acceptance of a certain percentage of fee-paying students into the schools would provide an immediate and beneficial income stream and be an important step towards sustainability of the program. FFH income will gradually increase as capacity and intakes at the secondary school increase, allowing an increased percentage of school operating costs to be funded from the FFH Initiative while increasing the number of at-risk and parentless children that can be provided with free places in the program.
The strategy for expansion of FFH is based on progressively increasing fees in line with continuous improvement of facilities and supporting infrastructure commensurate with equivalent schools in the regional market, which will in turn significantly increase the level of FFH funding without reducing the percentage of at-risk and parentless children enrolled under full scholarships.
Other current initiatives include the ongoing and growing practical elements of the school curriculum that are:
1. Mitigating food costs and providing improved nutrition through increased cultivation of HCLS land;
2. Growing a herd of goats for supplementing protein requirements in student diets and reducing food costs; and
3. Teaching vocational skills to students while developing school infrastructure and completing repairs to school buildings.
These initiatives continue to make important contributions to self-sustaining operations in the medium to long term, but they are considered to be supporting elements to the main FFH initiative.