– Frankly speaking I do feel afraid and helpless sometimes. We have no helicopters to evacuate us and without money there is no safe haven to flee to, says GAD’s congolese founder, Jeplock Kasika in this post.
The leader of the M23 militia is now killed. To us who worked and with his threat for years, this is a tremendous relief. But under the cautious optimism we know there are countless more loose canons waiting for their next move.
Yesterday, for instance, we heard more stories that National Army for Liberation of Uganda (NALU) recruit local people by force in the Rwenzori alps between Uganda and DRC. More than 68 villages are affected. We have experienced the same in Mambasa, and I know all to well the feeling those children have who are now left alone without a father, mother or brother. I wonder how foreign politicians would respond to this if it was their wives or their sons who were kidnapped by such rebels.
Quiet after the storm
The first part of February appeared calm after a numerous security crises accompanied by murders and other perilous acts in the Eastern parts, especially in territory of Beni. This is due to the Sokola operations of fighting the rebels of ADF-NALU.
The territory of Mambasa remained quiet in spite of a small insurrectionary movement on behalf of some elements of the Congolese army that tempted to paralyze some activities on February 18th in Mambasa. Luckily this was averted by those faithful to the FARDC.
Frankly speaking I do feel afraid and helpless sometimes. We have no helicopters to evacuate us and without money there are no safe havens to flee to. How do you handle fear in your daily lives where you live? What are the biggest threat to a good life where you live?
Greetings from Jeplock Kasika, founder of GAD in Bunia, DR Congo.
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