GEMENA, DR CONGO (November 23, 2015) — Lives of women and children have been saved through the Covenant Kids Congo Powered by World Vision program, said Pete Ekstrand, Covenant missionary to Congo.
In one instance, World Vision staff helped rescue 12 children who were being held by a sorceress because their family had declared them demon possessed, Ekstrand said. Staff pursued legal action, which resulted in the woman’s arrest. The children had been hit, had food withheld, and were forced to drink oil or eat salt. They are now receiving care.
In another situation, World Vision learned of 14 orphans who were not going to school and worked with schools to admit them for free.
Project leaders also are coordinating work with 32 clubs in Gemena that work against gender violence and building cooperation among 26 local NGOs that work to protect children.
“They want to see that women and children are accorded the dignity they deserve as people made in the image of God,” Ekstrand said. “They are holding seminars and teaching people that gender inclusion in all areas of life is essential for sustainable development.”
Ekstrand said educational efforts have reached to widely varying audiences:
- Taught 1,200 housewives about caring for girls.
- Educated 2,400 households about malaria prevention and cleanliness around their homes.
- Trained 100 local police, army, government officials, and development agents on child protection. Some of the training included teaching people what laws are on the books in Congo and how to work to see them implemented.
- Led seminars for 86 schools about reducing the hard labor often given to students.
- Freed children from arbitrary arrest, torture, corporal punishment, and sexual violence.
Groups have been formed for children to learn the laws concerning their protection. “World Vision has found that these groups end up teaching their parents, civil authorities, and others about the Congolese laws.”
One woman, Mama Ambana, shared how two of her children had died due to malnutrition. Now a new gardening project has enabled her to provide proper food and vegetables she can sell to pay school fees.
For more information and to read additional stories of people being impacted by food security project, visit Ekstrand’s blog.
Another project has developed wells that now provide clean water to 16,500 people. Marie is one of the women who have benefited. Prior to one well’s construction, she had to walk nearly two miles three times a day to get water for her family. Now she has to walk only several hundred yards. Still, it is no easy feat. A video on another Ekstrand blog post shows Marie carrying the jug that weighs 55 pounds.