The EGEE is a youth prison based in Goma, in eastern DRC. 72 boys and 8 girls between the ages of 16 and 19 years old have been kept here accused of petty theft and robbery. However, many of them have been held in prison for several months or a year without receiving any form of a trial or formal condemnation. Rumors claim that many were street children taken by the police even though they committed no crime.
The imprisoned youth live in terrible living conditions, 82 boys sharing one room with little ventilation and no light. They lack nutritious meals, leaving them in constant starvation. The extremely poor conditions have caused the proliferation of different diseases, leading to the outbreak of a skin disease that has affected almost all the imprisoned youth. There is one particularly tragic case of a boy who was shot and still has two bullets in the body, close to the spine.
In 2018, JRS reconstructed part of the prison, which was burnt down in a fire. Recently JRS started providing medicines, games, recreational activities, hygiene products, mattresses, and blankets. JRS has also been supporting the prison with a feeding program and the provision of teacher training and salaries for nine teachers as well as distributing school kits and paying for state exams fees, so the children can study.
JRS proposes to continue providing the most basic needs for these imprisoned youth until the end of the year. During this time, JRS will search for other funds to keep the activities running after April 2020. JRS would also pay for the medical operation needed to extract the bullets from the boy who was shot. JRS will remain accompanying these minors trying to prevent them from further suffering.
Give the gift of stability in a time of instability. Set up an automatic, monthly gift now and get matched at 100%—because the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt us all, and it will take all of us to overcome it. Terms and conditions apply.
Monthly giving is as easy, safe, and as inexpensive as a Netflix subscription. Start a monthly donation to Jesuit Refugee Service today and get matched at 100%. Terms and conditions apply.