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The situation of the families and children displaced in the zone of Minova

27/12/2012: Dem. Rep. of the Congo

We publish a letter received from the Marist community of Bobandana describing the situation of the families and children displaced in the  zone of Minova, South Kivu Region, Democratic Republic of the Congo. FMSI supports the program that the Brothers are going to develop for them.

Once again, part of our world where Christmas is contradicted by the threat to children’s lives. Once again, the decision of the Marist Brothers to intervene in this situation as a sign of hope and life at the side of these children and their families.

___________________

Dear brothers and sisters, greetings.

As you know, for some months now the East of the Dem. Rep. of the Congo has been plunged in a war causing many innocent victims. Unfortunately,  the situation does not seem to be improving, despite the efforts of those working for peace .  It is a very complex situation, but we are always relying on your prayers and help to support this people who endure the multiple consequences of unjust wars. We continue to believe that God is with us in our apostolate among the people. God will not deceive us.

We Marist Brothers of the community of Bobandana live the situation directly together with our students, our boarders and our teachers. We continue our apostolate with the young because we still constitute a sign of hope and encouragement for so many young people. Our message in the midst of this people constitutes not only a sign of hope but also an eloquent witness of being among the poor and needy. We believe that the restoration of a lasting peace is still possible in this region which, for more than a decade, has only been a territory of battles, killings, robberies and rapes. Even today, security does not exist in our milieu ;  every night there are reports of robberies, systematic pillage and the rape of girls and women by armed people who cannot be clearly identified. The war as such has not yet arrived at our place but our village of Minova has become a place of refuge for all those displaced by wars in the city of Goma, Sake, and many other villages on the plateau like Karuba, Bufamando, Masisi, Bishange, Bitonga, or the whole group of Muvunyi shanga in general. More than 9000 displaced families have ended up in the refugee camps in Minova in lamentably deplorable conditions.  This means that the humanitarian  situation is complicated, despite the efforts of some NGOs trying to help.

The situation of the children in these camps is most deplorable. Many children are abandoned and cannot find their parents.  The poverty and misery in the field expose them to sicknesses. Most of these children beg or spend their day collecting little objects from the garbage bins to sell.  Our community and school being in the middle of the village of Minova , we are at each moment in contact with these hundreds of poor and uneducated children who spend their days wandering around the school and the community.

The presence of these children almost abandoned to their sad fate is a strong appeal for us Marist Brothers. Strongly affected by their deplorable situation, our community is thinking of gathering these children and looking after them so as to give them training to save their lives.

There is no school in the refugee camps and the children are scattered wandering around the camps.  All the primary schools of the  villages they come from have been destroyed or closed because of lack of security and the flight of the population. This is the case of the Ecole Primaire Kinci  of the village of Bufamando whose whole population is presently in the refugee camp in Minova. Most of the students and teachers from this school are in the camps. Many of the displaced parents from Bufamando have expressed to us their concern for the training of these children or assuring the continuation of their education. So our community has thought of organising, with the teachers of the EP Kinci, a training centre for the displaced children in order to carry on their education. The School will be able to operate in the afternoon in the building and infrastructures of our school, Institut  Saint Charles Lwanga.  Working with the displaced teachers of the EP Kinci, the Marist Brothers’ community of Bobandana can thus bring together all the uneducated children of the camps, giving them the same educational framework enjoyed by the other children of our school.

Minova being our field of apostolate, we Brothers of Bobandana cannot remain indifferent to this misfortune which strongly affects families and children. Thus we feel called to act directly for this  population of the displaced in the area of training the numerous displaced and despairing children. The training of the young people and children living in the refugee camps requires of us a quite urgent response. So we ask all persons of good will to be willing to support us in coming to the aid of these innocent children who are suffering and abandoned to their sad fate.  

We send you our deepest thanks in advance for the support it pleases you to grant to these poor and  innocent children.

___________________
On behalf of the Community of the Marist Brothers of Bobandana
Brother Richard Kabwika, Community Econome.

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