Groupe Scolaire La Tendresse is a primary school started by a family of Christian Scientists who felt compelled to help children. Because of war and civil unrest in the country, many children had their education interrupted or were not able to begin school at all. In fact, the government instituted a rule that if a child hadn’t started school by age 7, they were not permitted to start. These children, known as “drop-out children”, were welcomed at La Tendresse. After moving its location several times, the school now has 200 students in a modest facility on a secure rented compound. The children come to school for a half day, something not uncommon in the DRC. Since the school has just four classrooms, the younger children come in the mornings, and the older students come in the afternoons. There are about 25 students in a class, though the majority of the families cannot afford the modest school fees. The school employs 10 teachers, who are paid only about $50 a month, and have sometimes worked without being paid at all.
Because they believe in self-sufficiency and demonstrating a sense of supply, the leadership team at La Tendresse rarely asks for funding. When they do ask for something, it is to help them start projects that will lead to financial independence. In 2014, they started a sewing workshop to to train young women in a skill. They also use the profits from the sale of the dresses made at the shop to help support the school. In addition, La Tendresse has agricultural land on the outskirts of the city and is currently growing pineapples and other crops.