30 Aug Turning Sorrow to Joy in Eastern DR Congo
The provinces that make up Eastern DR Congo are among some of the toughest places to live on the planet.
Congolese civilians have already experienced decades of violence with the civil war that has killed 5 million people between 1997 and 2003 and still continues to flare up to this day. In addition, the rise of over 100 heavily armed militia groups, HIV/AIDS cases and the Ebola outbreak has left thousands of children orphaned and abandoned, making Eastern DR. Congo a location with the highest concentration of true orphans and widows in the world.
This year alone, UNICEF and their partners registered thousands of children who have lost one or both of their parents due to disease, violence, or other causes. The numbers seem overwhelming, however, God is raising up strong leadership in this region, and many lives are being saved and children are thriving at our SOW partner homes.
Serving Orphans Worldwide has been working to support Pastor Kibi and his church in Goma to create a manageable system to care for the growing number of orphans coming in from the war zone. In a country with no social infrastructure to care for these children, this process has been both challenging and a true testament of God’s provision and faithfulness.
Over the last few years, special sponsors came together to purchase land, a security wall and the means to start the construction on a building in Goma that would safely house the most vulnerable children in DR Congo. While the building was being completed, Pastor Kibi and his church gathered with hundreds of widows and orphans to provide them with food and clothing allotments. They were able to form a network of families within the church willing to foster children who would otherwise be trying to survive the harsh realities of street life in DR. Congo. They decided to continue with this foster system and reserve the residential program for the most vulnerable children in dire need.
(pictured) Ken Anderson and Coleman Bailey from the SOW staff visiting the jungle home of St. Therese in Masisi August 2021.
Last year, 17 orphaned children whose lives were in critical condition were rescued, treated and brought to their new home in Goma, making them the first of Pastor Kibi’s full time residential program. These children were found in the Congolese jungle, trying to survive on their own in an abandoned mud house in the middle of the war zone. This rescue would not have been possible without the collaborative generosity of supporters here in the United States and the dedicated local church volunteers in Goma.
A week after their rescue, they were enrolled in school for the first time in their lives. They will get to sleep in a warm bed without fear and will wake up in the morning knowing they will have food to eat.
Today, the leadership at Open Spring are providing a loving home for OVER 70 children and have the capacity to expand in the coming years.
In addition to meeting basic needs, SOW has been able to provide a new water system, fixtures, cover school tuition, build a bridge over a previously dangerous river crossing, and invest in the future of these amazing children and their caretakers.
Currently, we are working to secure 10 additional bunks for Flamme De Amor. This home has really stepped up since the Volcanic eruption in Goma a few months ago. The needs are greater than every, and we have a chance to make a real tangible difference in this region.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child from any of our partner homes, 100% of your gift will go directly to improving their lives and not to any of SOW’s administrative costs.
Written by Susan Anderson