Local students assist school in Africa for students displaced by military conflict

Students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been displaced because of military conflicts in the region.
Local students are helping a school in Africa that serves children displaced by military conflicts in the region.

A few Canyon Crest Academy students have been working with the founder of nonprofit Hero Women Rising to support women’s rights, education and other causes in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Basically what we’re trying to do is because they kind of lost everything when that school was overrun and burned, we’re trying to be able to get them the educational materials they need to get a quality education,” said Selena Xiang, who will be a senior this upcoming school year at CCA.

Selena also organized a GoFundMe for Hero Women Rising, which was founded by Neema Namadamu, an activist who overcame disabilities caused by polio to launch an organization to support disabled survivors of sexual violence and advocate for other human rights causes. Some of the more prestigious accolades that Namadamu has received from other organizations and media include “Architect of Peace and Civil Society Activist,” “Africa’s Most Influential Woman” and “100 Most Inspiring Women.”

So far, there have been about $1,000 in donations. The goal is a little more than $8,000 to cover the cost of pens, notebooks, school uniforms and other supplies for students in the region.

The money is being used to address some of the hardships caused by military conflicts involving M23 rebels in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It’s hard for the kids to learn without anything to write with, or any of the books to read, and that’s what we’re trying to raise money for,” Selena said.

One of the initiatives she worked on with friends and classmates Kaley Mafong and Solana Herold provided 20 Foldscope paper microscopes to a temporary Maman Shujaa School, a private school that has been serving displaced students in the 2021-22 school year. The Foldscopes can achieve up to 140 times magnification, and the CCA students are creating a science curriculum to go with them, including videos that teach the students about water, plants and other biology lessons.

“In a region with so much fighting, poverty, and hunger, these kids deserve so much more,” Selena said.

Selena added that Namadamu “really wanted to emphasize how these kids are really innocent and pure and they just want to be able to receive an education and have those opportunities in the future.”

“Right now there’s a lot of rebel fighting going on in the region and making it very difficult for the kids,” Selena said.

For more information, visit