The laughter of a dozen children playing in the dirt by a mud hut fills the wet heat of the morning. Marie smiles to herself as she measures out their vitamin supplements.
The hut is perched on the side of a valley and as you look out across it, you can see what once were homes, now overrun with forest growth, and the edges of abandoned fields.
Marie was just a child when a militia group burnt this village, Muhila, to the ground. For many years she and her family dared not return.
But now she is back, with help from Centre Resolution Conflits, a local peacebuilding organisation that is helping people like Marie all over eastern Congo. Throughout the region, thousands of villagers have been forced from their homes by 16 years of civil war. Local peacebuilders are helping some of them to go home.
In Muhila, CRC set up an orphanage for 14 children who had lost everything in the war. Malnutrition makes these children look years younger than they are. CRC found the funds to train Marie as a nutritionist. CRC’s presence gave villagers like her the confidence to return, to overcome the fear of what they have experienced.
The centre in Muliha provides the orphans with what they need for a second chance to be strong and healthy children: food, shelter, care and security. And CRC allows both Marie and the children to face a brighter future.