Cinderellas of Bukavu

by COOPI Cooperazione Internazionale
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Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu
Cinderellas of Bukavu

The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to experience a deep crisis and the population is facing various difficulties and dangers. In addition to the economic problems caused by the devaluation of the local currency, the level of crime is high and the cases of missing persons and house fires are frequent. This situation makes living conditions increasingly precarious and many families are looking for some help.

In this complicated context, the Foyer Ek'Abana Center in Bukavu regularly carries out its activities and it’s able to support and assist many adults and children. For example, it provides three meals a day to young residents of the Center and offers its help to ensure family reunification whenever possible. Furthermore, some families have been helped in commercial activities in order to satisfy their basic needs.

In addition to these activities, the Center carries out social moments such as celebrations, sports competitions and travel. Among these, the Center has recently concluded a school trip with about 60 children guests of the Center. The children had the opportunity to visit a new parish and they have carried out charitable activities for the neediest of the place. In addition, they had the opportunity to sing, dance traditional dances and recite in front of an audience.

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In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there is still one of the longest and most complex crises of the African continent. In the last year there has been an increase in cases of negligence or abandonment of children by parents, caused by the extreme level of poverty in which they live. In addition, food insecurity still affects about 1,8 million people, including 219 000 children under the age of 5 years and the rise in prices between February 2022 and February 2023 has aggravated the situation.

Despite this complex situation, the Foyer Ek’Abana center continued the activities regularly and safely. The number of children has increased and, currently, there is an average of more than 40 children living in the center, while many others have continued to attend during the day.

In order to promote the rights of the children and to spread awareness of the issues related to abandonment and accusations of witchcraft, in the last period the center has been engaged on several fronts. In fact, a lot of meetings were organized with the aim of sensitize the public about these issues. In particular, activities were organized in parishes for children with disabilities; several schools visited Foyer Ek’Abana to study the approach used for the prevention of accusations against children; meetings were planned with community leaders in order to build committees to combat the phenomenon.

In addition, the Foyer Ek’Abana continued to provide three daily meals to young residents and, when needed, other children were hosted and flour was periodically distributed to mothers.

The center has continued to pursue the fundamental objectives of the project, in fact, with the aim of ensuring access to education, the youngest children have attended the nursery school inside the center while the older ones were enrolled in the different schools of the city. Furthermore, this year was also guaranteed health insurance for residents because, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it’s up to citizens.

There have been opportunities for non-formal education, play and sociality that allowed children to express themselves through art and discover new passions. Additionally, every first Sunday of the month, the birthdays of all children born in that month were celebrated together.

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The Foyer Ek'Abana centre was founded in 2001, by Sister Natalina, in the city of Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. It aims to rehabilitate, educate and socially and professionally integrate girls and adolescents who, for various reasons, find themselves on the margins of society. The Foyer Ek'abana centre also has met the story of Marie!

Anne-Marie is a young girl who was abandoned by her father and whose mother, who is unemployed, was unable to take care of, especially after she suffered of a serious illness. Moreover, the two were evicted because the cost of the rent was unaffordable for the mother.

The centre has taken care of Anne-Marie's situation, by welcoming her and providing for her school education. Anne-Marie in the centre in Foyer Ek'Abana has the possibility to study, she is in good condition and does very well in school.

Thanks to the activities of the centre Anna-Marie has found a place where she can grow up happly and where she has the possibility to return to play and have fun, in a safe and secure environment.

Supporting the centre means helping to make the future possible for many other children who have similar backgrounds of Anna-Marie. It means giving these children the chance not to feel abandoned, to study, to be protected and to be able to find a new 'home' where they feel welcome and protected.

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The Ek’Abana Center provides long-lasting support and protection to children in need that live in the area of Bukavu.


Many children that are welcomed at the center often decide to remain as volunteers when they grow up and after the end of their school years.


One of these is Samuel.


Samuel has a lot of brothers and sisters and his parents have been working all their lives to guarantee decent living conditions for their children; nevertheless, Samuel’s parents have often struggled to find stable employments and this has led to economic vulnerability. Therefore, the Ek’Abana Center has played a key role in Samuel’s life as it has been the place where he has had the opportunity to study and receive support during the times in which his family was struggling.


During his school years, Samuel was a very hard-working student and he always received good grades. Recently, he finally obtained his diploma and he received a specialized training to eventually work as plumber and electrician.


While looking for a stable job, Samuel is currently providing support to the Ek’Abana Center as a volunteer. He is really enjoying the activities he carries out as volunteer and he is happy that he can continue to be part of the center even now that he has finished school.


Samuel’s story shows how important the work of the Ek’Abana Center is for children living in the area of Bukavu.


Stay by the side of the Ek’Abana Center. Help a child grow up and go to school.


Thank you!

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Since 2002 the Ek’Abana Center, run by Sister Natalina, hosts children accused of witchcraft and children in need of care and protection in the area of Bukavu. COOPI supports the work and activities of the center which offers shelter, psychological support, school support and vocational training, family mediation and reconciliation to children.


One of the main objectives of the Ek’Abana Center is to raise awareness among children and young adults about a variety of themes such as the promotion of environmentally friendly practices and the management of recycling.

Children also participate in the so-called “school of peace” which is an activity that involves seminars on the topic as well as poetry workshops and it has the goal of promoting a culture of peace. Thanks to the school of peace, children have the opportunity of expressing and sharing their ideas of peace through their own written poetry.


Furthermore, another central pillar which guides the work of the Ek’Abana Center is to spread awareness about the lived experiences of vulnerable children and about the stigmatization that young girls accused of witchcraft have to endure. The doors of the center are always open to people who are interested in getting to know more about it.


All the work carried out in the center is only possible thanks to the great commitment of the team responsible for organizing and implementing the various activities. Therefore, it is important that the people working at the center are well-prepared and trained properly.


The training of the staff involves different lessons, workshops and group activities which have the goal of enhancing the competences and skills necessary to work with vulnerable children.


The lessons cover themes such as how to effectively protect children, the importance of creating moments for children to speak and be heard as well as moments of dialogue among peers. The staff also receives training in conflict management and good working practices.


Every three months the center organizes an assembly to share ideas and feedbacks about the development of the various activities and to brainstorm about possible future projects.


Please, donate to support the great job that the center is doing for children and young girls.


Thank you for your help!

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Organization Information

COOPI Cooperazione Internazionale

Location: Milano - Italy
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @coopi
Project Leader:
Federica Piria
Milano , MI Italy
$4,595 raised of $10,000 goal
45 donations
$5,405 to go
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