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From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future

by Congo Children Trust
From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future
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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School Plan
School Plan

Just a quick email to let you know that Congo Children Trust will be again joining with GlobalGiving for their #GivingTuesday event on 3rd December.

This year we are focusing on the Kimbilio school building project and are asking all our supporters to donate via the link below on the 3rd December:

We've come a long way since July this year when the grounds at Maison Kimbilio started to be cleared for the work. The foundations have been laid and a whole room has been built. It's so exciting to see it take shape. This school will be a beacon school in the area, offering education to all regardless of their background, with former street children attending school alongside their friends from the local community.

This year, GlobalGiving are offering a proportional match on all donations up to $1000. There is $500,000 which will be distributed to all charities involved proportionally based on final fundraising totals. This means that, at the end of #GivingTuesday, the projects that bring in the most funds will win the largest portion of the Incentive Fund. So the more we raise in donations, the more of the incentive fund that Kimbilio is eligible for.

It doesn't matter how big or small a donation every donation will help build this school!

Thank you so much for all you have already done to help the children at Kimbilio.

The land at Maison Kimbilio before work began
The land at Maison Kimbilio before work began
Foundations and First Room built
Foundations and First Room built
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Flinty Maguire and Ian Harvey
Flinty Maguire and Ian Harvey

Congo Children Trust is only where it is because of all those volunteers and supporters who take Kimbilio into their hearts. We thought we take the time to share with you one supporters story which changed Kimbilio from many miles away.

Back in 2017, children's author, Flinty Maguire saw a Sky News report about children exploited to work in the artisanal mines in DR Congo. The film moved her to action. Here is her story in her own words:

"On 17 February 2017, I saw Alex Crawford’s Sky News report of the plight of children mining cobalt in DR Congo. Child cobalt miners, Richard and Dorsen were interviewed. The film is devastating and impacted on its audience. To date, it’s been viewed over 67 million times. I searched Facebook, found Ian Harvey, who offered help through Congo Children Trust and I made contact with Alex Crawford, who was deluged with similar emails. The breakthrough came when I emailed the Sky News desk and described the help Congo Children Trust could offer. That worked. On 24th April, Nick Ludlam, Sky New Africa Editor phoned me and told me he’d made contact with Ian, and the Sky News team would return to DR Congo to relocate Richard and Dorsen, to offer support.

That was great news, but the fact remains that thousands of children remain trapped in cobalt mines, and the remedy to that is in the hands of governments and corporates. What frustrates me is that, while corporates issue carefully crafted statements, children struggle and go hungry. There were 1.58 billion new smartphones sold in 2018. Why don’t corporates impose a levy on such goods to free children from labour, and as reparation for harm done, as Amnesty International demands? Children don’t eat words – they need actual food. 

I am now committed to being a life-long member of the Congo Children Trust support team. I’ve spoken to Richard and Dorsen over the Internet and had a window to see some of the Kimbilio children. It was wonderful – a huge privilege. Children are amazing."

 Flinty has just released the third book in her Ellie Booton Journal series. It's called "The Abandoned Rule Book" and will be very kindly donating the royalties from this book to Kimbilio. 

So what's your journey? How did you become involved with Kimbilio and Congo Children Trust? Did you see the film on Sky News? Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you about your journey.

(One final update - At Maison Kimbilio, we're building a school where former street children can access education alongside their local friends. As the new school year gets into full swing, we are looking forward to taking part in again in GlobalGiving's #GivingTuesday event on the 3rd December and the Year End Campaign over the holiday season. We'll be focusing our fundraising for this period on the school building but we'll let you know more about it nearer the time.)

The Abandoned Rule Book - Out now!
The Abandoned Rule Book - Out now!
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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
$34,390 raised of $90,000 goal
424 donations
$55,610 to go
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