Posted by Peace Direct on
Image credit: Photos by FOCHI
In May 2021, our partners the Fondation Chirezi (FOCHI) led an emergency project to support young people affected by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With thanks to the People’s Postcode Lottery, 151 displaced children have been supported, in two locations in Uvira, South Kivu. The Mai Mai armed group is active in the region, known for looting livestock and provoking violence. For those displaced by war, there are added fears of disease, malnutrition, child labour and fighting.
FOCHI distributed 206 food kits containing maize and bean flour to 206 children living temporarily in IDP camps across the region. They also organised games for the children, so they could make friends, integrate with the host community, and begin their journey towards healing from the conflict.
Here are the testimonies of four people whose lives have been touched by the project.
*name changed for security purposes
I had never played with children from other ethnic groups here, but thanks to these games I already know the homes of some of my playmates, we already visit and our parents already know us as friends. I ask FOCHI not to stop these games which are very important for us internally displaced children. We do not study and if we stop these games, the ordeal will begin with all the risks linked to the kidnapping of children that is in full swing here.
I am the President of the local peace committee in Bwegera. I am also a teacher in a secondary school.
I thank the People’s Postcode Lottery through Peace Direct and FOCHI for bringing us these games for the displaced children in the Uvira region. These games were a moment of resilience and social cohesion for these children… Now it is difficult to know the children of the displaced and the children of the natives, it is as if the children have become the same.
We parents were very happy to see our children playing with the indigenous children. The positive results of these games are numerous and invaluable.
Yesterday our children did not speak Swahili and had difficulty communicating with other indigenous children, but today, thanks to these games, they already speak a little Swahili and are friends with indigenous children.
This project has made me very happy in my life. I became the bridge between the parents of these children; in my village in Bwegera I am the mother of all these children, and I have grown in confidence thanks to these children. Even though the project ended, because of these children and the atmosphere, I have given FOCHI a week of volunteer work and pray that FOCHI’s donors will continue to support these games to help displaced children integrate.
This emergency project, made possible by the People’s Postcode Lottery, has changed the lives of many young people affected by violence and displacement. It has also given happiness and hope to the community as a whole, including those coordinating the programme. Projects like these need continued support, so that local communities can build social cohesion, nurture future generations, and continue the healing process of those impacted by war.