With World Vision's support lives have been changed even in the most difficult circumstances
Read the stories below to learn more about how, with your support, World Vision can continue to work in emergency situations providing help and assistance to the most vulnerable.
a big thank you
World Vision has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for 15 years, currently working in the displaced people’s camps to provide food, shelter, and essential supplies.
Because of our supporters’ generous response to the appeal we launched in November we have been able to help many more families who have been displaced by the ongoing conflict: 81,000 people have benefited from immediate assistance, while medication and medical supplies enough to assist 40,000 people have been distributed to health centres. Thank you for helping us to bring aid to the people of the DRC.
“everyone had gone”
Sembegwa Byamungau is eight years old, and he doesn’t know where his parents are. He believes they may still be in the village where he last saw them before he fled. "I don't know if they are alive or dead," he says. "I was farming with my cousins in the field. When we returned home, we found everyone had gone. People told us to run. We heard gunshots and heard they were killing people.”
Children are always most vulnerable when a conflict shatters a region. In eastern Congo children are not just feeling the effects of conflict, they are directly targeted by violence and displacement. “We met soldiers in the forest who beat us and stole all of our things – pots, plates and a bag of flour,” reports Sembegwa.
roofs and resources
Sembegwa and his uncles and cousins are now staying at the Minova camp for displaced people, near Goma in the east of the DRC. He received plastic sheeting for his temporary shelter from World Vision, along with soap, blankets and household items. He also works to make ends meet. “I earn money from a local businessman who is building a house. I put grass on the roof. I learnt how to do this when I was making a hut for my hens in my village. I earn 300CF [about 35 pence] for three days’ work.”
Child Friendly Spaces
Because displaced children often lose the protection of their parents, communities, and schools, they become highly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, violence, and recruitment into armed groups. Hundreds of children are thought to have been separated from their families because of the recent fighting, forced to not only miss school but to also fend for their survival.
To help children deal with the trauma of displacement and to provide them with a safe place, World Vision operates Child Friendly Spaces inside the camps, where they can play and receive informal education and psychological care. They are a place where children can be children – not surrogate parents, wage-earners, or any of the other roles their circumstances have forced upon them. With the right support children are able to recover from their experiences. World Vision runs six Child Friendly Spaces in the DRC, benefiting a total of 6,000 children.
Farming is a vital way of life for families throughout this part of the DRC. But with 3,000 families living in Minova camp’s crowded banana leaf huts, growing crops for food is impossible. Families rely almost entirely on aid from humanitarian agencies such as World Vision. In one area at the centre of the conflict, World Vision estimates the number of children under the age of five suffering from malnutrition has increased ten-fold, with between eight and ten children per day arriving at a World Vision nutrition centre.
“The cause of malnutrition used to be poverty,” said local nurse Suzanne Kahamba. “But now so many people are displaced, they don’t have land to grow crops. The conflict has intensified the effects of poverty ten times over and the situation has become dire. We are fighting malnutrition every day here, but I fully believe that if there is peace, we can close the centre. People will be able to go home, farm their land and look after their families.”
This is Sembegwa’s dream too. “I don't know when I will go home,” he says, “but one day I will marry and have a farm.”