Providing care to orphans in the short and long term
It is not easy being a child in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Children face poverty, violent clashes by numerous military groups, lack of access to food and clean water and very little access to education. It is a chronic emergency that has been inflamed by the pandemic.
According to the World Food Program, 4 in 10 children in eastern DRC are food insecure and 15.6 million people are experiencing emergency levels of hunger. (WFP, 2020) In the past year, the price of food has increased drastically in eastern DRC due to the lack of food imports. Food such as beans and rice, which are staples in their diet, have drastically increased in cost. In this past year, beans have gone from being sold at 60 cents per kilogram to being sold at $1.70 per kilogram. The same goes with rice as it has tripled in price in this past year.
“Malnutrition is particularly pervasive in the east of the country, where decades of brutal conflict has forced millions from their homes – many of them numerous times. In the first half of 2020, almost a million people were uprooted from their homes due to new violence.” (UN, 2020)
In addition, the increased fighting in this area has killed many villagers and left many children as orphans. In 2016, there were more than 4 million orphans in DRC and with recent attacks that number continues to increase. (VOA, 2016) Quickly after losing their parents, the children need to find shelter as they may be recruited as child soldiers.
This past weekend our DRC staff responded to an immediate need of a local orphanage by the name of Compassion for the Infants in Distress Orphanage (CED) near Butembo. The leaders of the orphanage contacted us asking for help. They have recently received newly orphaned children from Bulongo, Lume, Mutwanga and Loselose areas, due to violent attacks. They are currently providing care to 61 children and have no food to feed them or the staff.
This orphanage currently has 6 staff, most of whom are not receiving pay but rather free housing in exchange for their help. In past years the Anglican church built the house where the children sleep and toilets were built by Oxfam. Unfortunately, they currently have no consistent income coming in so they are reliant on occasional donations from people in the area or local churches.
The Global Refuge Project bought $2000 worth of food for this orphanage to provide for the children and staff for the next 6 weeks.
In coming months, a portion of the profits made from the businesses of The Global Refuge Project in DRC will go to providing food for local orphanages. These profits will also go towards starting income generating projects for each orphanage. Through agricultural projects, the orphanages can grow food to feed their children. They also can sell produce to cover operating costs and provide salaries for the staff.
In addition, The Global Refuge Project will provide training to orphanage leaders, enabling them to prevent illness and provide basic care to the children under their care.
Our hope is that through income generation and training, many orphanages can become self sustaining. Thousands of children in this area of eastern DRC are depending on it.