Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DR Congo: " The child before they broke his heart Our heart, the heart that I believed was lost "

Esther Nsapu at Rafiki blogs: Another African blog and even better from Goma. You can't know how happy that makes me. This is a translation from French and cleaned up by me. All translation errors are mine. As this is Esther' blog I have not made any comments as per my practice with Charly Kasereka and Chantal Faida's blogs.

Shasha: Space "friend to children" Shaping the future of underprivileged children


Child soldiers, victims of war and orphan's studying free courtesy of the  friend child Shasha network. In addition to the lessons learned in the classroom they are also trained in dressmaking and design; we have to prepare a better future.

They are about 500 children from the territories of Walikale, Masisi, Rutchuru aged from 4-16 years. They live, study and are supported by free to friend child space (SAEP) at Shasha, a locality thirty kilometers to the west of Goma, North Kivu, DRC.

Most of these children have lost their parents in the recurrent wars of the region. Some are the result of rape and others are former soldiers conscripted into armed groups. " I feel better here. Here after a few months I can read and write " reports Bonane Bazimaziki, 14, former militiaman.

At the age of 13, K. Baeni like most children accommodated in "Space " , could not count or hold a pen. "His integration was not easy but we are proud of him as of all the others  , " said Clarisse Kasaza the manager of SAEP.

Included in this number, nearly 200 girls are taught the skills of cutting and sewing, while boys learn drawing and painting. " I am proud to be able to sew clothes but also to weave carpets , " says FT, a girl born as a result of rape, never having known her parents and abandoned at birth. 

Even the locals are included 

Although this SAEP project is designed to supervise the children victims of war, the work of this organisation also benefits the local people. Included in the school, there is  ten local children. George Bazibuhe, chief of the town of Shasha observes, this organization is also very beneficial as giving the poor village children the opportunity to study for free.

He is proud and encourages developers and managers of this structure for children. " I can hardly pay my rent and my income does not allow me to educate my three children. Fortunately this center exists if not, I would seem irresponsible "explains Nsimire, who sells mangoes in the village.

According to Clarisse Kasaza since the center was established there two years ago, the progress has been significant: " children who were violent became docile. Tomorrow they will become honest and responsible citizens thanks to the education they have acquired.  " But the fact remains that the stresses on parents are large and numerous a fault authorities of the country are powerless to fix so the center must respond.

OK sort of breaking my comments rule but as I was working on this a friend
Kalume Jon mentioned what he was currently doing.

"...in Northern Uganda where Lord Resistance Army operated by Joseph Kony,... now am in evaluation of children's situation, orphans and child soldiers and vulnerable women affected by war. "

From a global perspective these issues should and are to some degree addressed by the UN. Rehabilitation should become a UN Security Council responsibility, the way out of messes like this is to break the cycle of violence. From a New Zealand perspective we need to win a seat on the council in September and getting Helen Clark into the job as UN Secretary General should be a national priority. We may only be four million people at the bottom of the world but that is not a weakness it is our strength. The NZ Government is by virtue of our size close to constituents. 

In 1994 while New Zealand held the presidency of the UN Security Council the Rwanda genocide happened. We attempted to stop it but we were over ruled by permanent council members.  Most New Zealander's didn't  and don't know the Rwanda genocide happened. Had they known, had they mobilised who knows what the international community would have been forced to do, remember the Springbok tour of '81 and we were divide then. New Zealand is almost unique in the world, when we collectively want our government to do something they had better do it or start looking for new jobs. That is our size advantage, that is our ability to change the world.

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