Street Girls in Congo are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, violence and addiction, and are often invisible on the streets. The Kimbilio projects offer support and provides a loving home for up to 20 street girls, where they live in a small family setting and receive one-to-one support from our carers. The girls enjoy a range of activities such as sewing, art and sports, as well as attending a local school. Ultimately, we try to reunite each girl with her family.
There are thought to be over 250,000 children living on the streets of D. R. Congo. Many have been orphaned; or their parents have divorced and abandoned them for their new families. Others are accused of child witchcraft, a wide held belief in Congo which forces children to flee for fear of abuse or stigmatisation. Children are drawn to local markets, where they can find shelter and work. Young girls are particularly vulnerable in this environment, and are often exploited for prostitution.
Kimbilio supports street girls from their initial visit, to a place in our Girls' Transit (short-term) Home and, if necessary on to Maison Janet Bokwa, our long-term home. We offer a safe haven where the girls receive a local education, friendship and one-to-one support. The centre and both homes provide an environment for children to overcome their time on the streets, and enjoy activities such as sewing, arts and sports. Over time, we aspire to to reunite these children with their families.
Overall, the Congo Children Trust's Kimbilio Project supports over 400 street children each month, helping them to build a future with hope. Kimbilio offers an escape from living on the streets, and an opportunity to improve their future prospects. Where possible, we work with each girl's family and community to overcome the reasons for her ending up on the streets, and tackle the stigma surrounding street children to allow the child to be safely reunited with her family.