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Jun 2, 2020

News from Shaki

Feeling happy at Shaki's home!
Feeling happy at Shaki's home!

 

The last few months have been challenging for us all across the world.  D.R.Congo is no exception. 

There are now over 3000 cases of coronavirus in D.R.Congo. The majority of cases are in Kinshasa where the authorities are attempting to prevent the virus from spreading to the rest of the country. The country's health care system is certainly not in a position to cope with the pandemic with few ventilators and a very low supply of oxygen in many hospitals. Learn more in the illuminating Guardian article below. 

Despite all this, Shaki is continuing her amazing support of vulnerable children in Kinshasa.  She has over 20 girls and boys living with her at the moment. 

Due to the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings of groups her wrestling activities have had to stop. This has put a stop to the little income she was getting from her much loved sport, so she needs our support more than ever.

We as a UK charity are not able to get out to our usual fairs and festivals this summer so we have launched an amazing online shop where you can buy essential facemasks, beautiful bags, aprons and peg bags made out of vibrant Congolese material. All funds raised go directly back to support our work with children in D.R.C. 

Thanks so much for all your support for Shaki, it enables her to continue to offer sanctuary and security to children who would otherwise be without a home at this time of crisis.  We do hope you are safe and well at this hugely challenging time. 

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Jun 2, 2020

Update from Kimbilio

Receiving support from Kimbilio outreach team
Receiving support from Kimbilio outreach team

The last few months have been challenging for us all across the world.  Lubumbashi is no exception. 

The closure of the Zambian border to curtail the arrival of coronavirus in Lubumbashi led to the quadrupeling of food prices. This in turn this led to an increase in violent crime, armed robberies and unprovoked attacks. Many are struggling to make ends meet to feed their families and there has been an increase in numbers of children on the city's streets. We have just heard of an outbreak of cholera in the area of the city where many of the children we meet at our day centre sleep overnight. 

The mining sector has seen a downturn with the global demand reducing and the price of copper crashing.  Many children formerly working in the mining sector have found themselves on the streets of Lubumbashi looking for help.

Public gatherings including our day centre were understandably prohibited due to coronavirus restrictions.  So the amazing Kimbilio team decided to take hot food and medical care out to children in desperate need of help on the streets. 

Despite these challenges, we have had two cohorts of girls and women graduating through our amazing young mum's hairdressing and beauty skills course and through our valuable sewing course.  Offering greater financial stability at this time of crisis. 

We have still been able to get some children back with their families, and others, too young to be on the streets have been offered a place in one of our four homes.  All four homes are open as usual and are now full to capacity. Dorsen and Richard are both well although missing school as schools are all closed. Our Kimbilio tutors are doing lessons in the homes to keep them up to speed!

Cases of coronavirus have slowly started to increase in the city and there is concern that the fragile health care system will not cope is the numbers of cases increases as it has in the UK and many other parts of the world. 

Some great news, the walls of the primary school building are up!  We are still searching for the finances to put on the roof.  A shipping container full of chairs and desks donated to Kimbilio by two schools in the north west is on it's way to Lubumbashi!

Back in the UK, Ian Harvey isn't able to go out to speak to our supporting Churches and our usual fairs and festivals have been cancelled.  So, Congo Children Trust Trustee, Ruth, took on the task of opening the Kimbilio online shop. https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KimbilioShop Essential face masks, lovely bags, aprons and peg bags in vibrant Congolese colours are now available at the click of a button! Please check it out and tell your friends and family! 

All income from the Kimbilio Shop goes directly to helping children on Congo's streets. 

Thanks so much for all your ongoing support, it enables us to offer a more positive future for Kimbilio children at this time of crisis.  We do hope you are safe and well at this hugely challenging time. 

Crafts in the girls home
Crafts in the girls home

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Feb 4, 2020

A message from the Founding Director

Happy New Year! Apologies for the lateness of our wishes. We thought we would start the year off with a little review of the last year, so here's a message from Ian Harvey, Founding Director of Congo Children Trust and Kimbilio:

Dear Friends,

We have had much fun celebrating 10 years of Kimbilio this year! Some of the highlights have been:
• returning to Congo in the summer with a UK team of 13; some with long term experience of DRC, others visiting for the first time. It was lovely to see the team and children playing games and having fun together.
• laying the foundation stone for the Kimbilio Primary School. The foundations and first 2 classrooms have since gone up! We are now awaiting the the end of the seasonal rains and have just fired another kiln of bricks ready for the dry weather.
• taking 7-year-old Chance for a birthday ice cream with the lovely lady who became her mum after she was abandoned as a baby outside the Kimbilio gates. Wonderful to see her thriving!
• the publication of ‘The Abandoned Rule Book’ by children’s author Flinty Maguire who is generously donating the royalties to Kimbilio. It makes a great present for children 8+ as well as adults. You can get your copy here for a very reasonable £5.99 www.flintymaguire.com
• the completion of a self-contained flat to provide international Kimbilio volunteers accommodation during their time in Lubumbashi.
• the CCT team visiting a number of our supporters and catching up with many of you. If you’d like us to visit your school, local or faith community in 2020, please do get in touch.

We have also acknowledged the ongoing challenges and our fragility as an organization this year.
• One of the challenges for the children was the tragic death of Dorsen’s father (Dorsen was one the boys that was working in the mines whose story featured in the Sky News report.) Dorsen returned to his family in the school holidays and arrived to find his father’s funeral taking place. It was devastating for him but he and Richard are now back at Kimbilio and doing well at school.
• The refusal of the UKBA to give Jean Bosco (Kimbilio Director) a visa to visit the UK despite the wonderful response of many of you who wrote letters of appeal including our local MP who also advocated on his behalf.
• The £ to $ exchange rate has had a significant negative impact on our finances. The £ now does not go as far in providing the necessities needed to sustain the project. Despite this the project continues to thrive which is a testament to our faithful and generous supporters.

We want to send a sincere thank you to each one of you who have enabled us to make all these things happen and who have supported us over these last 10 years. Kimbilio is a work of collaboration and partnership. We are grateful for the vision for this project and all who are a part of the wider Kimbilio family helping us to grow the vision and the work on the ground.

Yours with so much thanks and appreciation,

Ian Harvey

Founding Director
Congo Children Trust

 
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