Reunite Children with their Families in Congo

by Congo Children Trust Vetted since 2015

Children can find them on the street for many reasons. Sometimes a parent has died suddenly or they might have been separated from their parents when fleeing violence in another area. Some children are falsely accused of witchcraft or abused at home and for some their parents cannot afford to continue to look after them. The pressures on families are immense that often they make challenging choices and the impact on these young lives is immeasureable.

In May this year a little girl came into Centre Kimbilio, our outreach centre, to ask for help. Her two year old brother was carried carefully on her back. The girl told staff that their parents had had an argument and had abandoned them on the streets.

Kimbilio was able to give these children a loving home. Due to his age and the strong bond he has with his sister, this little family is being cared for together at Transit Filles (the girls' transitional home). With local social workers, Kimbilio staff are making enquiries in the area to endeavour to find the parents and, if possible and safe, to work towards reuniting them with their precious children.

Until then the children are settling in to their new home with new friends and carers. They are enjoying being part of a family and being cared for.

So thank you. Your support not only pays for the transport back to their families or a social worker to assess the family situation, but also for food and transitional accommodation for the children and so many other ways in which Kimbilio continues to support children like these. Please don't forget us on July 18th when GlobalGiving will be running their Rewards Bonus Day. There will be $120,000 in matching funds and bonus prizes available for charities taking part. It runs from 9:00am to 11:59pm EDT (that's 2pm to 4:49am GMT) on Wednesday July 18th. See www.globalgiving.org for full terms and conditions. If you are able please consider supporting one of Congo Children Trust's projects:

https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/27733/congo-children-trust/

Merci Beaucoup!

Making the journey by motorbike
Making the journey by motorbike

We wanted to let you know about one of Kimbilio's latest success stories of reuniting Ann* with her family.

Four months ago a little six year old girl was found living on the streets of Lubumbashi by local social workers. They brought her to Centre Kimbilio and the staff found her a place at the Girls Transit House. Due to her age it was difficult to find out what had happened to her. After months of amazing detective work, the Kimbilio team located her family 45km from Lubumbashi. She had been missing for over a year. The team carried out their assessment and she was able to be reunited with them just a few short weeks ago. The roads are overgrown tracks in that area so they made the long journey via motorbike!
Her mother said, "A woman took her. We looked for her everywhere. We didn't know whether we find her dead or alive but we thank God. Now she is alive. I have nothing to give. A girl is riches. All I can give is my thanks. Thank you."

So thank you - with your support Kimbilio can help so many street-connected children be reunited with their families. 

(*We've changed her name for this update)

Next month, from April 9th through to April 13th, we will be taking part in GlobalGiving's Little by Little Campaign. During this week, GlobalGiving will match donations up to $50 at 50% with $50,000 in matching funds. If you are able, please consider donating or sharing this story with a friend or colleague who also may be able to help. We are focusing on our From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future project for this campaign but every little helps with any of our projects. 

Merci Beaucoup!

Family Hugs
Family Hugs
A family reunited
A family reunited
Christmas Day Fun!
Christmas Day Fun!

Christmas message from the Congo Children Trust

2017 has been a full year at CCT. In Congo, we have seen a large increase in the number of street children seeking our support; a number of UK visitors were welcomed at Kimbilio; we were able to build and renovate some of the buildings on our property; we recently held very useful staff training on working with children accused of witchcraft; wide reaching publicity about Kimbilio’s work went out on Sky News, to name but a few of this years activities.

The year also started with unrest in Lubumbashi, focusing on demonstrations against President Kabila, who should have stood down by November 2016. 2017 has ended without elections, however, they are now being promised in December 2018. It appears that the President is trying to hang on to power by whatever means. Any uprisings against him are being quickly and violently extinguished.

We’re looking forward to a new year with all the unknowns and surprises it will hold. We are so thankful to be in a position to help children facing hugely challenging circumstances. We hope that we will be able to continue to make a real difference in the lives of children who come to us for support. We are grateful for the transformation we have been able to see over this past year.

Two boys, former residents at Kimbilio recently returned to visit. They are now back living with their families and Kimbilio is continuing to pay their school fees. They are doing very well at school. They came to say thank you and ask if there is any chance Kimbilio can help them to attend University in the future. It was so encouraging to see them doing so well. We need your support more than ever to support others like them.

Without your generous donations, all of this wouldn't be possible so thank you!

From all of our DR Congo and UK based staff and children we wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas. 

Joyeux Noël!

PS. There's still a few days remaining to donate to GlobalGiving's Year End Campaign (finishes midnight 31st December). We are eligible for extra bonus amounts if we get enough donors which would be an amazing way to begin 2018. Please consider supporting us during this season or sharing our projects with friends and family. Thank you!

Street children in Lubumbashi
Street children in Lubumbashi

Over the summer, it has become more and more evident that the number of street connected children is continuing to grow. As well as current difficulties making life harder for many families to make ends meet, there has also been violence reported in the Kasai region leading to many children travelling to the larger towns such as Lubumbashi to seek refuge and a place of safety. This isn't what they find on the streets. Life is hard, they are beaten, exploited, abused, hungry and ignored. The Kimbilio staff have reported a significant increase in the numbers of street connected children recently. 

So with the help of you donations, Kimbilio continues to be a beacon of hope - a place of safety and refuge for street connected children. Kimbilio has built on many years of experience to become a trusted member of the Lubumbashi community. Our long-term relationship with local social workers enables us to help the most children we can. And it isn't just food and a shelter from everything that Kimbilio provides. The Kimbilio staff make sure that each child is nurtured and given a chance to be a child in Centre Kimbilio.

And when the Kimbilio staff have earned the trust of the children, then they start to put in place the long process of reuniting the children with their families using a reintegration package, paid for with your generous donations. 

Our update is that the need continues to grow and as always our dedicated staff continue to work to meet that need. Thank you for helping Kimbilio to continue to repond.   

Links:

Mireille & Gill planning a second sewing workshop
Mireille & Gill planning a second sewing workshop

Although we are regularly updated each week by the manager of Kimbilio, M. Jean Bosco Tshiswaka, we do always relish the opportunity to visit DR Congo. This month our Founding Director, Ian Harvey, returned to Lubumbashi for Kimbilio's 8th Anniversary celebrations with two other volunteers, Marguerite Koefman and Gill Venton.

Mama Marguerite has taken over many children’s French books and set up a reading programme for the children. This has been especially exciting for the children as they have been using the newly refurbished classroom at the Kimbilio boys' transit house. Mama Gill continues to support and is very much an integral part of the sewing workshop team. Both she and Kimbilio’s Sewing Project Manager, Mireille, are making plans for a second sewing workshop. There's no stopping them!

Ian has also had chance to catch up with the some of the children rescued from exploitation in the artisanal mines nearby to Lubumbashi. You may remember that earlier this year Sky News feature a report by Alex Crawford about the living conditions of children and their families working in the colbalt mines. With the help of Alex and her team, Jean Bosco and the Kimbilio team located and offer two children a place at Kimbilio. Here they are given the chance to be children again: to learn, play, eat and sleep in safety. We hope to expand our projects to offer the same support to many more families, but we need your help and support.

An easy way of helping your money go just that bit further is the GlobalGiving Rewards Bonus Day. You donate and the money is boosted by GlobalGiving meaning even more resources available to Kimbilio. The next bonus day is from 2pm on Wednesday 12th July till 4.59am on 13th July GMT. On this day Congo Children Trust (the UK based charity which supports Kimbilio) will be matched at 50%. That means in you donate £10 we actually get £15 (click here for terms and conditions). All day long there will be a 100% match on new recurring donations and, at the end of Bonus Day, the projects with the most funds raised and the most donors secured will each receive a $1,000 bonus prize. For this reason we will be focusing on the “From Exploitation in Mines to a Hope Filled Future” project for this bonus day, and would appreciate donations to be directed there if possible but all donations are gratefully received. Please make a note of the time depending on where you live as match funds do run out quickly. We’ll be reminding you again nearer the time.

As always, thank you for your continued support – it brings a lot of hope and happiness to many children in Lubumbashi, DR Congo.

Marguerite explaining dominoes at Maison Kimbilio
Marguerite explaining dominoes at Maison Kimbilio
Enjoying reading at Kimbilio Boys
Enjoying reading at Kimbilio Boys' Transit House
 

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Organization Information

Congo Children Trust

Location: Manchester - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.congochildrentrust.org
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @kimbiliodrcongo
Project Leader:
Ian Harvey
Manchester, Greater Manchester United Kingdom
$25,093 raised of $60,000 goal
 
264 donations
$34,907 to go
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