The past weeks we’ve spent with the oldest and youngest among us. Most of us have lost one or two family members in the Great Lakes Conflict and the aftermath of it, but these children and elders have lost all of them – one by one or all at once.
It takes so little to make a difference for them, but over the years we have also realized how little it takes for something to go wrong. For instance, because of rheumatism, eyeproblems and headache 50 % of the elders were not able to carry the rice and salt, we gave them, back home, since they have to family members to help them.
Therefore we are forming 12 groups of vulnerable elders in the 12 quarters of Bunia. Five of them were already established in March. Each group consists of 64 to 102 elders. Hopefully it will make it easier for us to stay in touch with each of them and thereby measure success more easily. Last but not least I hope it will encourage fellowship between elders and their local community. Retirement is surely not an option, so we intend to organize money generating activities for those who can work. The next week we’ll spend examining suitable work, demand and consumption.
The past time the rebelgroup ADF NALU has caused a small wave of new orphan children in North Kivu, whose parents were kidnapped by the rebels. We have spent the past month indentifying each of them and their living conditions. Some of them were clinging to us, refusing to let go of our hands when we had to leave. Others were very cautious and refused to speak. I know the feeling – I don’t want to let go of them, knowing what might happen to them, or us, before we’re due to meet again. Yet I have to be cautious and not make promises we cannot keep. As a small local NGO we never know from month to month if we can make enough money, or recieve enough donations, to carry out our plans.
Even in Bunia, currently without active rebel groups, we have registered 395 orphan children. They have no one to pay their tuition fees and school books. They beg after school. To many of them extra funds are acute to continue education. Since we don’t have enough means to help all 395, we really need to find a sustainable way to support them. I truly appreciate any perspective in the commentary field below or in e-mail.
Thank you for reading this.
All the best,
Great Actions for Development