Thank you for your financial support for the work of Kimbilio in reuniting children living on the street in the Democratic Republic of Congo with their families.
Often the child's family may be a day's journey from Lubumbushi and the Kimbilio team may need to make many preparatory visits over several months before the time is right for the child to return. Financial support by way of school fees and uniform may be needed and possibly a sack of grain provided as well. Great care is taken to ensure the welfare of the child.
In 2021, 15 boys and three girls were reintegrated into their families and it is heartwarming to see this happen.
It is so sad to hear of cases where children are forced to live on the streets in the Congo because their family cannot afford to feed them or because them to be witches who have brought bad luck on to the family. The aim of the Congo Children's Trust is to return street children to their families, but this is often a gradual process.In cases of financial hardship, the Trust may assist the family by paying school fees, providing school clothes and bags and giving food to the family.
In 2021, the Trust successfully reintegrated 15 boys and three girls into their wider families. This is the result of much hard work by the team in Lubumbashi, with several visits to the family often required to assess the situation and prepare the way for the reintegration.
The opening of the new Kimbilio Primary School in October 2021 has enabled street children living in the short and longer-term houses while reintegration is arranged to receive education alongside children from the neighbourhood surrounding the school. Good quality education is so important for the children so that they can acquire skills that will allow them to support themselves and their families when they older.
Thank you for your support for the work of the Congo Children's Trust with these vulnerable children living on the streets of Lubumbashi
The reintegration of street children with their extended family is a priority for the Kimbilio team. Team member Rodrigue takes the lead in locating the family of a child, who may be several hundred miles from Lubumbashi. The reason for the child leaving the family home may be as a consequence of the death of a parent, so it may be that grandparents or aunts and uncles will take in the child. Poverty is often an underlying reason, and when Gracia aged 15 was reunited with her family, Kimbilio agreed to pay school fees so that Gracia could go to school for the next year.
Covid cases are very high in Lubumbashi at the moment and vaccines in short supply. Sadly, Jean Bosco, direrctor of Kimbilio, died from Covid in July. Jean had led Kimbilio for seven years with compassion, gentleness and humility, improving the lives of so many children. He will be greatly missed. Two senior members of the team have stepped forward to undertake Jean's tasks and we will review the situation in three months.
The new Kimbilio school building has been completed and will open on 4 September, so those children staying in Kimbilio houses will receive on-site education. This is an exciting developmennt for Kimbilio. Do go to the Kimbilio facebook page - facebook.com/groups/kimbilio for news and photos of the schools opening.
The Kimbilio team in Lubumbashi have continued their program of reintegrating the street children into their families. Often the families can be in rural areas, many miles from Lubumbashi. As part of the reintegration program, the children may be given school kits – books, shirt, trousers, trainers and a school bag. It is so encouraging to see the joy of families being brought together again.
The building of the new Kimbilio Primary school is progressing well. The roof is on, the school grounds prepared and work is now being carried out installing the doors, and doing the ceilings and other interior.decorations.The building work is on schedule for completion in time to welcome the arrival of the first pupils in September 2021.
The take up of vaccinations against Covid has been very slow in DRC. This is due to scare stories about blood clots or sterility. The Government hasn't organised a vaccination program, so the country is a risk now from the Indian variant, which has been found in many recent cases. The Kimbilio team continue to work with the children on the streets through the Covid crisis and to each as many children in need as they can.
We're encouraged to hear that the Kimbilio team have been able to support 8 children to return to their families over the last month. Some of these children live over 100 kilometres from Lubumbashi. Carers from the Kimbilio team accompany the children back to their homes and meet with their families to understand what has led to the children coming onto the streets. They try to put support in place to ensure the family will be able to continue to remain together in the future.
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.
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