Airtel DRC launches ‘Back to School’ promotion
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Kinshasa, DR Congo
Mobile operator Airtel has this week launched a humanitarian programme to support its cash-strapped subscribers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to ease their worries, as the 2014-2015 school year draws near.
Schools in this mineral-rich Central African nation are due to open on September 8, and Airtel said that it was granting 20% discount on all transactions (payment of school fees and purchase of learning material) made through Airtel Money.
A total of 50 schools have already been chosen to participate in the initial phase of this social programme, which Airtel said was aimed at alleviating the stress parents go through when preparing the new school term.
Airtel DRC spokesperson Dandy Yela told the audience that the programme marked yet another partnership with the country’s ministry of primary, secondary and professional education (EPSP).
Thousands of impoverished parents are expected to benefit from the ‘Back to School’ programme in this state corruption-infested nation, where social inequalities and levels of poverty are among the highest in the world.
People eligible to benefit from the programme include all Airtel subscribers holding an Airtel Money account, among others, but people not using the Airtel network are also urged to register.
“I’m very happy that Airtel has come on board to help us. We are only 10 days away from the D-day, and I haven’t yet finished buying uniforms for my kids and paying the first installments of their school fees,” mother of seven Alice Mandiangu told Biztechafrica in the capital Kinshasa.
Airtel has also been partnering in the past few years with the ministry for another educational programme called ‘I’m adopting a school’, whereby the operator has been funding the renovation of several deteriorated schools across the vast country, and donating school desks, books and other school material to orphans.
Airtel, which launched its DRC operations in December 2000, is the leading mobile operator in this country, boasting close to 10 million subscribers.