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DRC: Beauty and the Beast

North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a province of huge contrasts. The sheer beauty of the landscape masks the brutality of ongoing conflict and its devastating consequences.

Like the threatening volcano that looms over the town of Goma, there is a sense of the unknown in the countryside and eruptions of internal displacement are unfortunately an every day occurrence.

There are currently 74,000 internally displaced persons (IDP’s)  in North Kivu due to a recent increase in fighting in rural areas. In response Save the Children has been implementing a multi-pronged emergency response over the past 3 months.

Inspiring achievements

I will never forget my first visit to a camp of 20,000 people. It’s situations like the one in North Kivu that I’m trained for and the tangible results the emergency programmes have achieved is inspiring.

We’ve already reached over 4000 children with health care,  child protection, education, nutrition work and other non-food items.

One of the main areas of our work is in the town in Minova, where we’ve started an emergency nutrition programme for severely acutely malnourished children, supported non accompanied children, as well as paying for displaced children to sit their end of year primary school exams, and provided essential household items.

Mwami and Asiata

Mwami and Asiata travelled four days to get to Minova having fled fighting in their home villages. They are hard working and dedicated students and sat their end of year primary school exam on the 6 June.

Save the children has paid for 1500 displaced children to sit this exam across the province, including 24 in the school that Mwami and Asiata attend.

Mwami tells me: “The exam was hard, but I am glad I got the chance to sit it, we couldn’t have done it without the support of Save the Children.

“I want to carry on studying; I really like culture and maths. In the future I want to be a nurse, when I see medics and nurses working to help people I feel glad, it’s a good job,” he added.

World’s Forgotten Crisis

Many children in these areas are none accompanied, traumatised and scared.  We have worked to urgently identify these children and ensure that they are safe, with someone to look after them. And in the longer term, these children will need our support to go back to school in September.

The ongoing crisis in Congo is truly the world’s forgotten crisis; the recent displacement is seen here as just another tragedy; they happen everyday, but rarely with this intensity.

Thousands of children here have experienced war and violence throughout their lives; they are normal children with aspirations and dreams.

We must now ensure that they are helped to receive basic services and offered hope for what is an uncertain future.

This post was written by Euan Crawshaw, Emergency Response Personnel

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