Combating ignorance, changing attitudes
In Kinshasa and other provinces,Â Equipe Pastorale auprÃ¨s des Enfants en DÃ©tresse (Pastoral Team for Children in Distress)Â is mobilising teams of church volunteers to care for the most marginalised children in a troubled nation. These teams reach out to children living on the street, providing medical care, practical support and counselling â€“ and work hard to reunite them with their families or find alternative loving homes for them.
Practical projects such as a street boysâ€™ football team and a street girlsâ€™ dance troupe are providing these youngsters with a sense of belonging and fresh hope. And EPED’s micro-credit loans enable street-living young people to develop aÂ regularÂ income, through cleaning shoes or selling small items, for example.
EPED even offers older teenagers the chance to learn a trade, through driving lessons or sewing classes. Delores (pictured) has benefited from this programme, and now has the skills to earn a living and build a future away from the streets.
Central to EPED’s work is changing harmful attitudes prevalent in Congolese society which fuel the mistreatment and abuse of children. EPED runs regular training sessions on children’s rights and child protection for community organisations in Kinshasa. Alongside this, EPEDÂ is heavily involved inÂ the Stop Child Witch Accusations coalition (SCWA). False accusations of witchcraft are a huge problem in DR Congo, andÂ many of the children EPED supports have been accused of being â€˜child witchesâ€™ and seriously abused as a result. EPED are determined to tackle this issue and we are no less determined to work with them to do that.
Your donation can change lives in DR Congo. Â£5 will provide a toiletries pack for a child prisoner. Â£20 willÂ improve a street-livingÂ teenager’s future by helping him develop a smallÂ business.Â Please give now.