DR Congo at 50 by Stephan Vanfleteren

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Aloys Kipembo Lokonda, headteacher: 'Well, you know, the state pays us 35,000 Congolese francs, less than fifty dollars - a pittance. What can you do with that? Nothing. That's why we ask parents for a premium, a 'gratuity' of 2,500 Congolese francs. If they can't pay, they have to leave the school. It's a problem that goes back to the nineties under President Mobutu. Our salaries haven't changed in twenty years. That's if they are paid at all. I think it's a sorry situation but we are forced to ask for a little extra here and there, otherwise we couldn't survive.'.