Despite ongoing war, ex-street children flourish in DRC

The current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of fear, violence, instability, poverty and war. This is the context to the lives of many of the children who are enrolled on the Street Kids Rescue (SKR) Project which is based in the “Village of Hope” in Goma, funded by Comfort International and run by our wonderful partners at Comfort Congo. In our last blog about the SKR DRC project, we described some of the challenges facing the success of this project, including the backdrop of violence and confusion that many young people are confronted with on a daily basis. This is a continual challenge and will be an ongoing journey for these young people. However, we would like to share with you the joy of the most recent reports of the strides they are making in education, aspirations and lifestyle. 

"Without your intervention in my life, maybe I would have died accidentally or by knife or be in jail but you helped me to escape all this."

Hannah* is 11 years old, and was orphaned when she was only 4. She was mistreated and hungry in her foster home and eventually ended up on the streets looking for a better life. Now, she says, “My life has changed a lot and there is joy in my heart because I study very well, without any problem, and I have what I need to eat, without difficulty, compared to my previous life when I lived on the street […] all my problems concerning education have been solved by Comfort Congo. My favourite subjects are the botanical science and gymnastics because I love P.E. and I love plants. My objective for this school year is to work hard in class because this will permit me to succeed at the end of year. To achieve this plan I will be kind in class and study a lot and be on time at school every day.”

Many of the young people express mixed emotions of joy and hope due to the new life they are experiencing, alongside fear at the current situation going on in their country. Olivia* says, I’m very happy and joyful to get this opportunity to thank you (my sponsor) and God who allow me to reach this time […] I don’t sleep any more outside in the cold weather of the night as was the case in the past time. I became a singer in church and I love God, to get food is no longer a problem […] because of the situation we are living of war between our government and rebels from M23, we live in fear and in insecurity. Please don’t forget to pray for us every day, but I do hope and believe in Jesus that soon the war and insecurity will take its end.”

Gerard has high hopes for his future now that he is able to study his favourite subjects in school, “In class I have no problems with understanding the subjects. My favourite subjects are French, history and geometry. For this school year I hope to finish in peace and to be among the best in my class at the end of the school year 2023. I will put my concentration on the subjects that are difficult to me in class. To achieve this objective I am going to review my subjects regularly with courage.” Even more inspiring is the change that has happened emotionally since coming onto the project, “Because of your help my future is reassured. I am happy to have (Comfort) in my life as friends. I’m well and I am not traumatised any more. I know that I’m protected by God because he had mercy on me when I lived on the street and today He permitted me to be as your family. Thank you for your love and your affection towards me.”

Abel* is 16 years old and says, “SKR was a blessing in my life and it has brought back my hope to be a responsible person, and with the help of Comfort International I have peace and I don’t feel like an orphan any more because I live with people who have good hearts and who give me good advice and comfort me. When I lived on the street I had lost every hope to live like a normal child, but today I’m doing well thanks to God’s love […] My favourite subjects are psychology, technique of animation and first-aid.” In an emotional message to his sponsor he goes on, “I am well and in good health in spite of the insecurity that frightens me every day. Sometimes I think that if M23 took Goma they will draft us into their rebellion by force, especially as I am a boy so I continue to require divine protection and ask you to pray for North-Kivu so that this war ends. Thank you for your support in my life because you gave me hope and I feel useful in our society. Lately our teacher told me that he sees in me a future great man in our country. Thank you for what you do to improve my life and I am thankful for that and God will repay you for your gesture filled of love towards me.”

a little can change a life

*all names changed to protect identity