Bishop Desire, our pastor in DRC, very sadly passed away last year, but his widow, Claudaline, has been continuing their work in the Goma region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. C S Tumaini/Hope and Grace School in the DRC serves pupils aged between 5 and 18, and WIN currently sponsors many of the children in the area. Sponsored children are blessed to escape the cycle of being forced to become soldiers and carrying out the atrocities which are so sadly well documented in DRC. Now they tell their teachers that instead of becoming soldiers they will become teachers, politicians and presidents of DRC!
However, life is very difficult in DRC. The pupils have been rescued from poverty-stricken surroundings, often homeless, and found begging in markets. It’s incredibly difficult to afford to send children to school in DRC and the children's surprise at receiving a whole plate of food just for themselves is apparent. Work is gathered from any source parents can find, such as carrying luggage for others, and pay is very poor. Living day to day, and with food so hard to obtain, it is impossible to buy books, uniform and equipment needed for education. Many single or widowed mothers are trying to scrape a living, and say they won’t return to their local villages because it’s where their husband was killed, they were raped and their houses burned.
As lockdown continues, children are left to their own devices as parents desperately try to find work and food, and the rate of teenage pregnancies is rising. The vaccine programme has not been widely accepted, and in the poor districts people don’t believe that Covid is real.
There is a desperate need for schools to re-open in order to stop the decline in society. Claudaline and her team try to encourage children to carry out small tasks to keep them occupied and help get some money for their families. Boys aged 8 to 12 are filling sacks with stones and selling them in batches of ten for building. Girls are fetching water from the lake for others, and so they are enabled to provide for themselves, but only in the smallest of ways. Claudaline ensures that all funds go to providing education, medication, and any remainder is given directly to families in need.
Please pray for Claudaline and the family as they continue to deal with the death of Desire and the needs that surround them. If you would like to ensure hungry children receive a good meal through the World in Need programmes you can donate on our Feeding Programme page.