We recently heard from Mama Mbambu, who leads the Compassion For Children In Distress programme in Butembo, North Kivu Diocese, DR Congo. Over several years, Church of Ireland link parishes have generously supported the development of facilities for the babies and children in Mama Mbambu’s care.
Many of these children, abandoned or left homeless due to the ongoing insecurity, have been reunited with relatives or placed in families. However as fast as children can be found permanent homes, more babies and young children are brought to Mama Mbambu as the insecurity and atrocities continue. It is a heart rending situation.
The parishes of Milltown and Killyman worked together to raise funds so that Mama Mbambu could move to a new home. A large plot was purchased and over recent years, three houses, kitchens and toilet blocks have been constructed. A great blessing was the discovery of a fresh water spring just down the hill from the plot. This was also purchased; a pump and pipes installed bringing a supply of fresh clean water to the site. This has been a life saver for the vulnerable babies and children, and since the outbreak of Ebola and now the threat of C-19, fresh water on site is a double blessing.
Mama Mbambu reports that there are now 53 children under her care. A local committee supports her and house mothers look after the daily needs of the children. In order to reduce the spread of Ebola and C-19, CMSI was able to send some support to complete the perimeter fence to prevent the children wandering off and to keep the local community members from taking short cuts through the compound.
CMSI and Semiliki Trust have also sent support for food and hygiene measures. Local well-wishers help when they can with gifts of food and clothes. During the current government lockdown each of the committee members offered to give temporary refuge to some of the children and a few local families also offered hospitality. This is certainly a help, but these children all need dependable long-term homes, hard to find when the whole community has suffered from years of rebel atrocities, dysfunctional national leadership and a shattered economy.
Despite all this Mama Mbambu says
‘God will not forget us and will prevent the virus from entering but if CV-19 enters, we fear for the lives of our dear children.’
Do remember these precious people in all the many challenges they face.