Education is one of the foundations of a meaningful and productive adult life. For hundreds of thousands of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), those hopes are being reduced to rubble.
Conflict has been raging in the DRC for decades. War has claimed thousands of lives, wrecked millions more, and displaced more than 1.3 million. As is so often the case, the biggest victims are the most blameless – the children.
In the last month alone, 119 schools in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been attacked, occupied, or temporarily used by armed groups. Nearly 300 schools cannot operate because they are being used as shelters by people displaced by the conflict. Almost 1,700 schools have been forced to close because they are simply not safe to use (in most cases because they are in areas controlled by armed groups).
The impact is devastating. The education of more than 750,000 children has been disrupted in North Kivu and Ituri. Many children are being forced to live in desperate conditions without access to learning. Some are in refugee camps. Others are on the street.
Without being able to gain even basic literacy and numeracy skills, it will be incredibly difficult for these children to become integrated and contributing members of their communities as adults. Without being able to fulfil their true potential, in adulthood these young people are more likely to face poverty, mental ill-health, and the risk of being drawn into violent extremism themselves.
Instead, a whole generation is at risk of being lost to society – and probably the next generation too.
Currently our partner Children’s Voice has a school in North Kivu. During the day it provides primary schooling, vocational training, and mental health assistance for children in the community. During the night it is also their home and only shelter. Families vacate the school in the day rain or shine and store all their belongings there.
Recently the situation has got so desperate families have been burning the books and desks just to keep warm.
Against the backdrop of violence in the DRC, Children’s Voice have successfully supported thousands of out-of-school children to pass their Primary Completion Examination, a crucial building block towards a brighter future.
The Big Chance gives us the opportunity to double your donations, cementing the impact of your support. Your £20 becomes £40 giving 24 children access to books and educational supplies for the whole year.
Together, we can ensure thousands more children receive their fundamental right to an education and change the course of their lives forever.