Loan client: Augustin Kalonji

Type of education offered: Secondary vocational, secondary general, primary and kindergarten

Loan purpose: Purchase of furniture and equipment, especially for the vocational secondary level; painting and decorating work

Loan amount: USD 15,000

Financial institution: ProCredit Bank Congo

Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

As an expert in education, it has always been Augustin Kalonji’s goal to not only have his own business, but also to help and educate young people in his country. It was especially important to him to offer reasonably priced private education to those families who could not usually afford to pay for schooling.

In pursuit of his goal, he established his private school in 2010, in Nsele, a low income municipality of Kinshasa located 25km from the city centre. Today, Mr Kalonji owns land and a building with 25 classrooms, employs 54 teachers and has increased the number of students from 900 in 2010 to 1,450 in 2014.

Before Mr Kalonji applied for his first loan at ProCredit Bank Congo, he faced major challenges in financing his school business. He did not have enough classrooms, chairs and desks. Additionally, he had plans to build a second floor, in order to achieve higher enrolment and keep up with the increasing demand. This plan also included the construction of a staircase, windows and a roof as well as the purchase of additional chairs, desks and other equipment. With the help of ProCredit Bank Congo, he was able to expand and improve his school.

In the future, Augustin Kalonji plans to apply for another loan from ProCredit Bank Congo. This time, he wants to invest in improvements to his vocational secondary classes. Currently, due to a lack of technical equipment, many of the school’s vocational teachers are unable to provide training in the all-important practical aspects of the subjects they teach. In such cases, Mr Kalonji is forced to send an increasing number of students to other co-operating schools to gain these hands-on learning experiences. With the help of a loan from ProCredit Bank, he could purchase the necessary technical equipment, allowing students to conduct the whole of their vocational training at his facility.

Mr Kalonji was born in 1971 and grew up in Mbuji Mayi, which is the capital city of East Kasai province in the south-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He currently lives with his wife and six children (aged 6 to 16 years) in Kinshasa. Prior to founding his school, Mr Kalonji first obtained a state diploma in general education in his home town and later worked as a vendor in Kinshasa. The students who attend Mr Kalonji’s school come, almost exclusively, from Nsele or the neighbouring areas. In addition to regular kindergarten, primary, and secondary levels, Mr Kalonji offers his students a vocational secondary track, allowing them to learn a profession such as mechanic, electrician or tailor. It is one of very few secondary schools in the DRC to offer both general and vocational classes, helping to meet the increasing demand for qualified craftspeople in the labour market. Regardless of the school level, parents pay approximately USD 60 per term per student.