Author Archives: rainshine

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RainShine Early Warning Network

The Village of Epi, DRC to Join The Early Warning Radio Network

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Through a new partnership between the RainShine Foundation and Invisible Children, the village of Epi will join the Early Warning Radio Network. The village elders and parents organization first asked the RainShine Foundation for assistance in acquiring the high-frequency radio equipment during Rob Freedman and Nathaniel Lewis’ 2017 trip to Epi. After over a year of preparation, we are ready to help Epi realize that dream.

What is the Early Warning Radio Network?

The Early Warning Radio Network was developed by Commission Diocésaine pour Justice et Paix (CDJP) to help remote communities report on the movements and activities of violent actors such as the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), poachers, and more.  The network is composed of high-frequency (HF), two-way, long-range radios that give communities in DRC and CAR the ability to report violent activity to one another and to security actors and humanitarian organizations who can respond in times of need. Invisible Children have partnered with local community organizations such as the one we have assembled in Epi to utilize local expertise and sustainably expand the HF network.

Why is this network important to the school in Epi?

There is, unfortunately, a history of kidnapping and raids in the areas surrounding Epi. You might recall the story of Matthew who was briefly held by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) until he could escape. Furthermore, as a remote village without cell phone reception or short-wave radios, they are extremely isolated. This radio when not in use for security purposes will be used to communicate with other surrounding communities to coordinate trade and share news. Here is a Voice of America video highlighting the network in a village similar to Epi.

How is RainShine involved? 

We made the decision in early 2017 to make this capital improvement project a priority in Epi. One must have security before they are free to engage in learning. This HF Radio will provide that. RainShine has made an initial 50% deposit to Invisible Children to secure a radio station for Epi. However, more funds are needed to complete the project. These funds came out of our general school operation fund and need to be replenished before the winter holidays. We need your support to share this story and help raise funds for this project.

The HF Radio Project budget and how you can help

We have built out the budget for this project and are accepting donations towards any of the below items. Just let us know what you which line item you wish your donation to go towards! How to donate? Right now, the best way to donate is either via PayPal or Check. This ensures the most of your donation reaches the people in Epi. Many platforms such as GoFundMe take a hefty percentage off each donation. Your donation to this project is tax-deductible as the RainShine Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Budget Item Cost Qty Total
Staff Daily Expenses  $75.00 10  $750.00
Fuel gasoline for motorcycles – To Epi  $1.30 90  $117.00
Fuel gasoline for motorcycles – Return  $1.60 90  $144.00
Engine Maintnence  $3.50 5  $17.50
Motorcycle Rental  $25.00 10  $250.00
 $25.00 6  $150.00
Drivers for motorcycles – to Epi  $5.00 6  $30.00
 $5.00 10  $50.00
Drivers for motorcycles – from Epi  $5.00 6  $30.00
 $5.00 10  $50.00
Daily Expenses for  CLP Team  $50.00 4  $200.00
Salaries for CLP Team  $60.00 4  $240.00
Hire/Train New Radio Operators in Epi  $50.00 3  $150.00
Food and Supplies for CLP Team  $10.00 4  $40.00
HF Radio Installation supplies (backups)  $50.00 1  $50.00
HF Radio System via Kampala, UG  $4,590.00 1  $4,590.00
Ground supports for radio tower  $30.00 1  $30.00
Insulation for Radio  $2.50 2  $5.00
Ropes  $5.00 1  $5.00
Ground Support Cables  $50.00 1  $50.00
Hardware  $10.00 1  $10.00
Charcoal  $5.00 1  $5.00
Misc. Supplies  $30.00 1  $30.00
The unexpected (FUNDED)  $150.00 1  $150.00
Subtotal  $7,143.50
Indirect Costs  $1,770.16
Total  $8,913.66

Donate via PayPal –

Donate via Checks made out to the RainShine Foundation can be sent to:

The RainShine Foundation 2940 Estates Ave #5, Pinole, CA 94564

Thank you for your support! 

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2018 Mission Trip to Epi, DR Congo – Funds Still Needed

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2018 is going to be an exciting, groundbreaking (literally with your help) year for the village of Epi, DRC, and the RainShine Foundation. RainShine co-founder and board member, Ethel Blair and her team of Australians are headed to Epi in February to break ground on a new solar power system and lay the groundwork for the permanent brick school structures.

However, due to the nature of DR Congo’s broken bureaucratic systems, the cost for Ethel and her team’s travel visas and other paperwork needed to work in the Congo have cost more than anticipated. Help us offset this cost with a donation to this fund here – 

Your donation will allow the team to travel by air inside the DR Congo which is both faster and safer for the team to transport the solar system to Epi. We will have only a couple of weeks to complete our work in Epi and the more time we can spend in the village working and not traversing the deep rutted jungle tracks the better. Help us reach our $2000 goal by the end of January.

Thank you and happy new year! We look forward to sharing the results of this project with you all in the coming weeks!

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Today is World Environment Day and RainShine is launching a new fund to jumpstart our solar powered mini-grid project

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With no access to electricity, Epi’s energy demands are simply; people want electric lighting so they wouldn’t have to keep buying and burning charcoal, and they want a way cook and to charge their mobile phones. Having access to solar power will help reduce deforestation and particulate air pollution through the burning of charcoal.

RainShine Solar Project in the DR Congo

A week’s worth of energy to meet basic demands for a single household can be stored in a small motorcycle battery. The batteries are locally available and very cheap (~$20 USD). They’re also portable. The Epi community can generate renewable energy collectively at a central location and then distribute it via a fleet of small carry-home batteries – a ‘portable’ micro-grid.

This fund will help us launch the first deployment of such a grid to the Epi School and teachers. Once proven successful we will scale the project to power all of Epi.

You can donate online to our Solar project here:

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Spring 2017 Supply Delivery To Epi

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One of the challenges working in the DR Congo is the remoteness and horrible road conditions which make getting to and from our schools difficult for volunteers and staff. in 2016 we launched a new partnership with the Dungu-Doruma Diocese. In doing so we are able to make quarterly visits to the schools, ensuring projects move forward and our teachers get the support they need in a more timely fashion. The second of such visits was just completed last weekend.

The RainShine Foundation Partners from Dungu-Doruma Diocese

Our partners who make the treacherous journey from Dungu to Epi every quarter for us.

Medical and School Supplies on display at the RainShine School in Epi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Pictured here are the Senke motorbike, medical supplies, school supplies, and other goods the RainShine Foundation sent this quarter to Epi.

RainShine School Headmaster, Epi village Chief, with new Senke Motorbike.

We raised money this winter to award the teachers and headmaster a new motorbike as the school and village was without motorized transportation. The roads and jungle tracks are often only passable by foot or motorbike. Having access to this will help the teachers and headmaster make their own supply runs into the town of Amadi, 80 km away. That is also the closest cellular service they can reach to send messages to RainShine or the outside world in the case of an emergency. This makes the trip in from Epi to Amadi 4 hours rather than 10 hours by bicycle or even more by foot.

Medical Supplies in DR Congo

Medical supplies delivered to Epi by the RainShine Foundation.

Football in the Democratic Republic of the Congo village of Epi

Students playing with the new soccer (football) balls that we were able to send over.

The RainShine School in Epi Classrooms

View of the school classrooms in Epi.


Here is a short video of the trip. We are making our next supply run in August 2017. Donations are needed to help us meet our quarterly fundraising goals.


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RainShine Volunteer Trip to Epi – 2017

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On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2016, volunteer and intern Nathaniel Lewis and RainShine Co-Founder Rob Freedman left the San Francisco Bay Area for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We took a circuitous route of SFO -> LAX -> AMS -> KGL -> EBB…that’s right, 4 flights and 28 hours of travel.

Upon arrival at Entebbe Airport, we found out our luggage had not made it onto our connecting flight which was not altogether unexpected given the short 45 min layover in Amsterdam. Nonetheless, it was unpleasant and required sleep-deprived travelers to do paperwork.

Within a couple of hours, we were off with Apollo Kaagwa, a RainShine advisor, and his friend to our lodging, Green Valley Hotel.


… (more details, pictures and video coming soon)

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2016 Volunteer Trip to Epi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Here is a look at the trip taken by Apollo Kaagwa, an advisor to the RainShine Foundation and a founder of his own school in Kampala, Uganda.  This Summer, in wake of the death of our friend John Valk, Apollo volunteered to check on the school for us, establish new relations for RainShine and to see how the preparations for new school construction are going. RainShine founder, Rob Freedman, is heading back to the school in late 2016 to follow up on the administration of the school.

River Crossing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by The RainShine Foundation

Apollo and his guide traversing a river near the school in Epi, DRC – July 2016

Bus stuck in the mud on the road from Durba, DRC to Dungu, DRC.

The Dieu Merci bus got stuck in the mud and Apollo had to walk over 7 km to the next village.

The RainShine School in Epi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bas-Uele Province

The RainShine School in Epi, Primary School. We are currently working with the local leaders to secure land and materials to build a new school that will include room for a Secondary School.

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Epi School Student Escapes from LRA after Kidnapping

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Here the story of one Epi student, Mathieu Pakwana. Mathieu Lived with his parents close to Epi but at the other side of the Uele river. His father is a fisherman. In the year 2012 rebels of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) walked on the road that goes from west to east and goes along the river Uele. Mathieu was at home along that riverside road. The rebels seized him and went west towards the town Dakwa. Over there they burned people in their houses and killed others in front of the boy who was 12 years old. The rebels gave him dark clothes and jackboots (as pictured above) and he stayed with the LRA a total of 3 weeks.

He escaped through a cunning act. The rebels one day walked again along where Mathieu’s home was and Mathieu knew that there was a small path towards the river. He told the leader of the group that he had fallen ill and that he needed to go in the bush next to the road. When he received the permission he ran towards the river and hid. He passed the night there and the following morning saw some fishermen he recognized. He called them and they brought him to Epi where he rejoined the school. At that moment he was in the Primary 3 class. He stayed through Primary 6 and left the Epi school in 2015. As his father had no money to send him to secondary school in Poko, where he is today helping his father with fishing.

Epi is fortunate as the LRA rebels rarely cross the Uele river into the village directly.