“It all began two years ago,” recounts Maria Pia Redaelli, who is the contact person for the NFA non-profit organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the Petite Flamme Project has been underway. Two of our teachers attended a training course offered by the Focolare in Douala, Cameroon. When they returned to us they decided to apply some of the ideas already implemented by other schools. One was the Children’s Parliament. Almost immediately the children took ownership of their school environment and became actively involved members of the school community. In previous years it was difficult to keep the classroom areas tidy, also the outdoor areas; but now there’s never a paper on any pavement.     

Each parliament is comprised of a president, vice president and several ministers, depending on the number of children. Each of them is in charge of something. Mbuyi Idrisse, director of the Petite Flamme, Ndolo, which has 400 students, recounts: “I arrive just before 7:30 every morning. I’m there to welcome my schoolmates. I check to see if their uniform is clean and neat. If it isn’t, I send them home.”

Makwatshi Donnel is vice president:  I assist the president in maintaining discipline, especially when the children are entering the classrooms and leaving at the end of the day.”

“I’m Minister of Art,” says Biamungu Bienvenue. “I intone the anthem as we begin the school day. Whenever there are festivities, I assist the teacher in preparing the performances.”

Minister of Finances, Beyau Vianney: “My job is to help my schoolmates to reach out to meet the needs of other students who are in need of support. For example, if someone loses a parent or sibling, we try to find money from our own pockets to offer help. The same is done when we come to know of children suffering in other parts of the world. I’m in charge of collecting the monies and handing them over to the school director.”

Luwala Precieuse is Minister of Health: “When I get to school, I go to fill up the water tanks and add a few drops of antispetic, to protect the children from illness. Then, during the ten o’clock break, I go to the kitchen to taste the bouille to see if it is good and has enough sugar to make my schoolmates happy.”

Losambo Jepthe: “I’m Minister of Sport. This year I tried to put together a few teams of both girls and boys. We practice every Wednesday and Saturday, and during breaks we hold matches between classes.”

Nakamuwa Pembe, Minister of the Environment: “I make sure the school is tidy; when I see a schoolmate tossing something on the ground, I invite him or her to place it in the trash bin. I also check to see that the toilets are kept clean and tidy.”

Luwula Preieuse, Minister of Culture: “I ensure that the children are speaking French, which is the authorised language of the school.”

Lastly, Binia Exauce, Minister of the Public Order: “Every morning I verify that there is chalk at the chalkboards, and i give a whistle that gives the sign for school to begin and end.”

Maria Pia concluded saying: “With the Children’s Parliament we’ve seen a qualitative improvement in the children’s involvement at Petite Flamme, and when they move on to other schools, the teachers admire their sense of care and involvement. Even recently the Italian Ambassador visited Petite Flamme and was very satisfied with the environment he found, the climate of harmony and mutual respect among all. He offered the teachers words of great esteem and encouragement.”


  • Sono proprio contenta come questa scuola si è organizzata cercherò di proporlo alle gen 4 che a loro volta possono proporlo alle loro insegnanti visto che io sono in pensione. Grazie di questa bella esperienza Rita Galatone (Lecce) Italia

  • Grazie per le bellissime notizie e le foto di bambini felici.
    Come genitori adottivi di Lucie, allieva della Petite Flamme,
    siamo strafelici di potervi, anche se con poco, aiutare a continuare nella vostra stupenda “missione”.
    Un grande abbraccio a tutte.
    maria pia paolo e luca gottardi

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