Daniella was at home when Mt. Nyiragongo, Africa’s most active volcano, erupted in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on May 22, 2021.

“On the evening of the volcano eruption, I went outside my house and saw the sky had turned red,” said Daniella, now 13. “I called for my mom to go outside after I saw the lava. We fled without taking anything with us, because the lava was almost at our house.”

The lava flowed to the northeast of the city of Goma, destroying houses, schools and the city’s main water reservoir. Daniella and her family were among the 20,000 people displaced from their homes. Their house and all Daniella’s favorite things — her school uniform, bag and notebooks — were gone.

“I said to myself that I wouldn’t go to school anymore, because I didn’t have anything left,” she said.

UNICEF is rebuilding schools and distributing learning supplies to help children resume their education in South Kivu Province

After a natural disaster, getting back to school helps children regain a sense of normalcy. In the weeks after the volcanic eruption, UNICEF set up emergency classrooms in tents and distributed school bags full of learning supplies to help children like Daniella resume their education. Now new classrooms have been built, and students are busy preparing for their future. 

“I am very happy because now I know we will study well,” said Daniella. “After I have finished my studies, I dream of becoming president of my country … I would like to be president to finally put an end to the war in other parts of the DRC and allow all the children to go to school and study in safety.”

UNICEF works with partners around the world to help children get back to learning after natural disasters. Your contribution can make a difference. Please donate.

Top photo: Students play during recess at Nziyi Primary School in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Their former school building was destroyed when Mt. Nyiragongo erupted in May 2021. UNICEF is working with partners to rebuild schools so students can resume their education and regain a sense of normalcy. © UNICEF  Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.