The unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has decimated viable employment opportunities for young people. As a result, many boys and young men ran off with the rebels to become child soldiers. When the government reclaimed the area, many of these boys were reintroduced to society. Without much education or skills, though, their options remain slim, and the government often perceives them as troublemakers.
The church has an opportunity to show love to these unwanted boys by providing them with community and a purpose. With ARDF funds, the Anglican Diocese of North Kivu will do just this through the construction of a vocational center in Butembo that will train graduating primary students in carpentry skills. Insurrection in the outlying areas has created a demand for furniture as people move into the city of Butembo.
ARDF believes in sustainable, holistic programs. In 2012, ARDF funded a similar project in the town of Aru, near the Ugandan border. It was a huge success. The Aru center has been able to expand due to community support and profits from furniture made at the school. The Butembo center is based on the same model. The students will also receive personal support and spiritual mentoring. Many of the youth are orphans of war and will benefit from lessons on reconciliation and forgiveness. The goal is to help orphans similar to Modjo, who learned a vocational skill through the grace of God.
In Their Own Words
“I was 3 years old when my parents were murdered by a group [of] rebels. I was brought [to] Butembo to Madame Dorcas, who is the one who is looking after the orphans in North Kivu diocese. When I was 6 years old, I joined the primary school. After my primary four, I was not able to continue. In 2010, Madame Dorcas asked me to go every day to stay with a certain man who is a mechanic of motorcycles. Four years ago, I started … to repair the motorcycles. Now I am able to [buy] a shirt and a trouser for myself. This is from my own work [as a] motorcycle mechanic. So I thank God for his mercy upon me.”
— Modjo, a pygmy orphan from Butembo, DRC
This project has been fully funded and we are awaiting the final report.