The situation in DR Congo has been unstable for many years. Eastern Congo has been a victim of widespread violence since 1994, following the genocide in Rwanda. Between 1998 and 2003, conflict between government troops and rebels led to over 3.5 million deaths. Since then, the situation has remained unstable. In the most recent violence, rebel fighters have captured the city of Goma, and have stated their intention to march into Bukavu, South of Goma, as well as Kinshasa, the country’s capital.
Thousands of families from Goma have fled to a refugee camp 15km south of the city, while others are heading for camps in the neighbouring South Kivu Province. Refugee camps around Goma which had provided shelter to tens of thousands of displaced people, have been left empty as families flee in fear.
We are increasingly concerned for the welfare of the country’s children. As well as suffering the trauma of violent conflict, in the makeshift camps, food and healthcare provisions are poor. In the confusion, hundreds of young children have been separated from their families and are extremely vulnerable. The DR Congo already has one of the largest numbers of child soldiers in Africa, and in the current unstable environment, it is feared that numbers could rise dramatically.
SOS Children in DR Congo
SOS Children have three Children’s Villages in DR Congo, in Bukavu, Kinshasa and Uvira. The SOS Children's Village in Uvira, located in the east of the country, initially started as an emergency aid programme for war orphans until it was transformed into a permanent home for children without parental care. Nearly all of the children living there are victims of the war.
Currently, all our Villages are safe. However, in light of the rebels’ statement that they intend to capture the city, SOS Children's Village Bukavu are taking precautionary measures for the SOS families to ensure that they have enough vital supplies. The Village has been affected by violence in the past, and staff are concerned that the SOS Children’s Village in Bukavu might be occupied due to its strategic position for military forces.
We are already supporting thousands of children and their families in Bukavu, Uvira and Kinshasa through care, educational and health programmes. We are ready to provide long-term support to those affected by the current violence.
Help children caught up in the violence
We need your support to continue our work helping the children of DR Congo, now and for the future. You can contribute to our work by taking out a child sponsorship.
A one-off donation to our work in Africa will make a real difference to our work in the continent. 100% of donations made to our work in Africa used directly by our organisation to provide the best possible care for children growing up in the countries and are not passed on to other groups.