There are so many orphans in the Congo that need help but we are currently focusing our work on orphans living in 4 areas of eastern DRC which I assessed as being most in need when I visited in 2014. The orphans in each of these towns face similar problems but the way we are helping them is slightly different depending on the current situation in each area.
1 - BENI
Our main priority in Beni is to build an orphanage for up to 100 orphans who either have nowhere else to live or are currently squeezed into cramped houses with poor living conditions. Through our 'Sponsor an orphan' scheme we are currently paying for some of these orphans to go to school, a projet which will continue until we can raise the funds to build a school of our own. We are also supporting them by delivering food and covering medical fees. By working with them to create projects to generate income we will ensure that they become self-sufficient and will be able to support themselves financially in the future.
3 - GOMA
The first thing we need to do in Goma is to build a school for one of the orphanages that we are working with that has 150 children and a school that looks like an abandoned IDP camp. The walls are made of torn tarpaulin, they have very few seats and desks and worst of all there is no roof so school gets cancelled every time it rains. The orphanage also needs an extra building - there are currently 150 children living in just 4 bedrooms and they need more beds or matresses as they currently have up to 6 children sleeping in some beds and the other children sleep on the floor. There are other projects in Goma that need similar help - constructing orphanages, schools and clinics as well as creating projects to enable these 'families' to care for themselves and the children.
2 - BUTEMBO
The situation here is similar to Beni. We need to build an orphanage in Butembo as there are currently 50 children that are being forced out of the property that they are living in because they can't afford to pay the rent. There are also more orphans here that have nowhere to live so we need to build a home for them. We are also covering school and medical fees here too, which we will continue to do, but our goal is to build a school here and we are working with a clinic that is being built to arrange for orphans to be treated here for free. We will also create projects here to enable the orphanage to become self-sufficient.
4 - BUNIA
Working with a local NGO called 'REACH Italia Bunia', we would like to help raise the funds to build an orphanage, school and clinic on a 4 hectare site that they are currently in the process of purchasing. The orphanage could provide a home for up to 200 orphans and the school would be big enough for up to 500 more orphans from the local area who are currently living with host families. The clinic would provide free treatment for all the orphans and the nearby local market would provide an excellent source of income from the sale of crops which would be grown on a section of the land and from other projects such as dress-making and the breeding of goats, chickens and rabbits. This is an ambitious project but one we are very excited to be involved with.