From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future

by Congo Children Trust
From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future
A young artist
A young artist

Dear friends,

Kimbilio continues to offer children a much better alternative, education and hope for the future than working in the mines. One of our team, Joel Kidindwe, encourages the children to express themselves creatively through art and fabrics. It is so encouraging to see the children enjoying themselves and developing their artistic talents.

Richard, who was rescued from the mines, has become an avid reader, and reads two-three books a week

There has been a very slow take up of vaccination against Covid-19, due to scare stories about blood clots or sterility. The Government hasn’t introduced a mass vaccination program, even thought the Indian variant has now been found in several recent cases. The Kimbilio team continue to work with children on the streets, particularly trying to reach those in greatest need.

The building of the new Kimbilio Primary School is on schedule to open to the first pupils in September 2021. The grounds have now been prepared and work is going on with the doors, ceilings and interior decorations. Exciting times ahead!

We are so grateful for your continued support.

Boys being creative
Boys being creative
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Roof going on to the Kimbilio Primary School
Roof going on to the Kimbilio Primary School

Dear Friends, 

During the coronavirus pandemic the DRC's mining sector has largely continued producing with protective measures put into place for employees.  The industry appears to be in a positive position at present with increasing investment from China. Many children continue to be linked to the artisinal mining sector.  We are delighted that Kimbilio can offer children a much better alternative, education and hope for the future We have exciting plans to expand our outreach to these children during 2021. 

Although Congo wasn't impacted by Covid-19 to the same extent as other parts of the world in the first wave, it appears that numbers are increasing there now. The UK has just banned arrivals for DRC due to concerns of the new strain from South Africa which has been found in various African countries.  The Kimbilio team are continuing to work hard despite all the challenges of Covid-19. 

We are delighted to see the roof going on to the Kimbilio Primary School which we aim to open to the first pupils in September 2021. 

We are very thankful for your support, we couldn't do this work without you.

Yours with thanks

Ian Harvey

Coronavirus linked art lessons at Kimbilio!
Coronavirus linked art lessons at Kimbilio!
Jigsaw time at the girls home!
Jigsaw time at the girls home!
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Roof going on the Kimbilio Primary School!
Roof going on the Kimbilio Primary School!

Despite the challenges that coronavirus has brought us all, over the last few months the Kimbilio team have continued their dedicated commitment to the children surviving on the streets of Lubumbashi. 

Initially the day centre had to close down, however, we soon decided we needed to get out on the streets to maintain contact with the children. Many of them had lost their source of income with shops and businesses being forced to close down due to the lock down.  The team were regularly meeting up to 80 children on the streets per visit.  The mining sector which drives the economy of the region slowed down considerably during lock down.  Many families who were dependent on the mines for work found themselves without an income and means to feed their children.  Some of the children we met during that time were clearly very hungry

During these outreach sessions we met these two children.  Damien in the blue trousers was forced out of his family home as he was accused of being a witch.  He stayed at Kimbilio for a few months and has now been reunited with his grandmother.  We met Joli and her baby on the streets and they are now living in security in one of our girl’s homes while we try to locate their extended family. 

We hope she may benefit from a place on our young mum's hair dressing and beauty course in the longer term. 

UNICEF were recently tasked with clearing the street children from the streets of Lubumbashi and they asked us to take on 33 children last month. We have been pleased to offer safety to these children but are acutely aware of the extra costs that taking on more children incurs. We have successfully reintegrated 21 children with their families in the last 3 months. 

We are so sad to hear there was another Mai Mai attack on the city of Lubumbashi 2 nights ago. At least 19 were killed during the attack.  The rebels are known at the Bakata Katanga and are fighting for the independence of the mineral rich Katanga from the rest of D.R.Congo. Thankfully the situation is calm again and all at Kimbilio are safe and well.

We are excited to share good news with you! The Kimbilio Primary School is making good progress! We raised half the cost for roofing iron in a recent GlobalGiving match funding appeal! We hope to get the roof on before the heavy rains start in November and welcome the first pupils in September 2021. 

We send you our sincere thanks for all your support which enables us to continue to provide support to children who have little other help in their lives. 

Mum and baby supported by Kimbilio outreach team
Mum and baby supported by Kimbilio outreach team
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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. 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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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
• 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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Organization Information

Congo Children Trust

Location: Manchester - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @kimbiliodrcongo
Project Leader:
Eva Walters
Manchester, United Kingdom
$47,949 raised of $90,000 goal
608 donations
$42,051 to go
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