A group of street-living children in DR Congo with a handwashing stationRev Jean-Paul Aruna and his team at Laissez Vivre Les Enfants (Let Children Live) do extraordinary work in supporting marginalised children.

Goma, in eastern DR Congo, has widespread extreme poverty and deprivation of all sorts. So we’re excited to partner with LVLE, to support and resource them to take this work to the next level. LVLE specialises in training, equipping local churches and schools to create environments where children are safe and can thrive.

A major focus of this training is on witchcraft accusations against children. Such accusations (and associated abuse) are rife in Goma, so LVLE is determined to bring change. Using SCWA’s ‘The Heart of the Matter’ resource, LVLE helps local leaders to address accusations of witchcraft in their communities. Arising from this training, LVLE has formed two 'Synergies', multi-agency networks which prevent witchcraft-related abuse, intervene on behalf of children at risk and even ensure perpetrators are prosecuted. Slowly but surely, attitudes towards children are changing. Goma is gradually becoming a place where children are safe to grow.

Alongside this, LVLE are strengthening their work with street-living children in Goma, befriending children and providing consistent and sustained support for those they get to know well. Ultimately, the team aim to help children leave the streets by helping to reconcile them to their families. This is not always possible or appropriate, but the team is currently in contact with 22 families, with a view to helping their children return home. It is wonderful to see marginalised children finding a brighter future.

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