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Dem. Rep. of Congo, Africa

DRC06 - Misericorde


Partnership Ref.:

DRC06

Commenced:

25/08/2019

Funding Status:

Fully Funded

Partnership Type:

Orphans & Vulnerable Children, Humanitarian, Training / Education

Funding Size:

$3,000 - $7,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 4,620

Video:

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Funding Contact:

No funding required

Dem. Rep. of Congo

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Population: 67.8 million

Life Expectancy: 47.6 years

GDP: US$185 per capita

Unemployed: unknown%

79.6% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact


35 families are being assisted

50 children are being supported into schooling


Partnership Overview

vulnerable childrenThere are many vulnerable children in the Katanga Province of the DRC, particularly in Likasi, a mining city of about half a million people. This part of the world has been in constant turmoil for decades. Rebels roam the countryside creating havoc, rampaging and killing with impunity. The result of this is seeing whole villages wiped out and the people slaughtered. This produces many children and young people abandoned in the city. They cannot go home, it is too dangerous, so they are trapped in the city or they come into the city where there is a perception of more security. These young people obviously end up in the most dangerous parts of the city. Many have no homes or places to stay. Many live on the streets, some are taken in by well-wishers and many end up as servants or slaves. 

Astrid and Dibwe Mulopwe, as pastors in a church, found many children coming to them with desperate needs and began to help when they could from their own resources. However, the numbers increased because word spread, more and more people are being killed and more and more orphans are being created. This country is an orphan factory. Misericorde (which means Mercy in French) was formed in response to these needs.  

They have been doing this for more than five years now, since 2014, and sense that God is leading them to become more involved. Currently there are about 50 children being assisted. They are good-hearted people with real compassion. 

great coupleHistory of Partnership

Many years ago, in the 1980's, BHW's New Partnership Facilitator lived in Zambia, next door to a Danish Pentecostal Bible School. They made friends with one couple in particular who were based there but travelled a lot around Zambia and Zaire (DR Congo). They have kept in touch since they all left Zambia and in 2015/16 received a newsletter from them in which they mentioned a couple in Likasi, DRC, who were serving God but were struggling to support all the orphans in the neighbourhood. The Danish couple put BHW's New Partnership Facilitator in touch with Dibwe (John) and Astrid Mulopwe and they began to communicate.

Finally, in early 2019 (after two previous trips being cancelled due to unrest in the DRC), BHW's New Partnership Facilitator was able to visit Dibwe and Astrid and spend time in their community. Following this visit a decision was made to commence partnering with them and this commenced in August 2019.  

Beneficiaries

There are two major groups of beneficiaries in this project:
1) The 50 very vulnerable children and young people. Most are very young, as young as 3 or 4 years old. Some come from child-headed families, others from guardians they are not related to. 

tough place to live2) Other vulnerable families that Astrid and Dibwe feel called to assist. These are families like Mama Lydia's. She attends the feeding programme because a friend told Astrid about her pitiful plight. In September 2018, 2,000 km up north, her husband was killed by rebels. Without waiting to bury him, she and her family got on a truck and travelled south, as far away as possible from the scene of the trauma. She had nothing except six children and another on the way. She looks like she is about 35 but she does not know when she was born. Now, 10 months later, she is living in two rooms loaned to her by strangers. She sleeps with her 4-month old baby on a crude bed in a room that is 2m by 2m square. Her six other children sleep on rags on the floor in a room 2.5m by 2m square. Their possessions - just the clothes they stand in. She has never been to school and does not think her children will either. The sense of hopeless was thick in the air when a BHW team member visited her.  

What We Like About The Partnership

These are very good people. They are well established in the area and are not going away any time soon. They do not have a lot of experience in development but they have compassion and the capacity to learn. 

The next generation are very good as well and are already contributing. They are highly skilled, personable and have a very good reputation in the Christian community. 

They are dealing with children that are as poor as it is possible to imagine. We have an opportunity through these people to invest in a part of the world that is right up there on the poverty index.

It is small enough to be manageable. 

Astrid and Dibwe are recommended by people we have known for many years and whose integrity we trust.  

 

Key People

Leadership Profile

impressive familyDibwe is the legal representative for the Apostolic Church in the DRC. He is a man of great ministry experience across Central Africa. He trained in Kaniki, Zambia. There are about 100 Apostolic churches in the Katanga Province of the DRC, mainly clustered around the larger cities. He started a church near to his home and his son Eric is now the pastor of that church. 

Both Dibwe and Eric are lecturers at a local university. Dibwe is the Chancellor of the University and lectures in Theology and Eric lectures in Theology and Information Technology. 

Astrid and Dibwe have nine adult children, eight daughters and Eric. Four of them are married. They are an impressive group of young people. One is a medical doctor, one is the accountant at the University and another teaches home economics at a local, private secondary school.

 

Other People Involved

There are two main groups of volunteers that come in to help:
1) Food Program - Mrs Mulongo Wadima and Mrs Guilaine Dinyenga help with food preparation and distribution
2) Children's visits - Mr Mwembo Makaba and Mr Rufin Kyala assist by visiting the homes and families of the orphans. 

They are all Christians although not all from the same church or denomination. They are friends working together. 

 

Vision And Annual Strategy

Vision 

The dream here is to build an orphan care hostel to care for the most vulnerable children. They recognise that the way they are currently operating is not sustainable. Many of the children they care for just disappear. They do not know where they go, back to their homes, run off to Lubumbashi or something more sinister. They have no idea where they end up and want to care for them in a better way. The children are very, very vulnerable and they fear for them. 

They have some land and want to be able to house up to 50 children. They have begun building the hostel but it is a long way from being usable. They plan to have a clinic on site for the community and a reception centre which will generate funds for the support of the children. All this requires significant capital investment. 

Strategy 

providing foodCurrently they gather the children two or three times per week to feed them and encourage them. They meet in a nearby church which is pastored by Eric, one of Dibwe and Astrid's sons. They sing, pray and feed them, and then send them away again. Sometimes they have clothes to give them and they try to supply school requirements to some. 

A team goes out visiting regularly to ensure the children are safe but it is very disturbing. They find them in difficult situations, often being abused, sometimes not being fed and in some cases they have disappeared with no trace. At times they have not had enough resources to feed the children and immediately notice a downturn in their health, they are very vulnerable and fragile. Some say these are the only meals they have in a week. 

 

Annual Budget

The annual budget here is US$4,620. There are two components to this:
1) Support of 50 street children, education supplements, clothes, 2-3 meals per week and assistance with health issues - US$220/month
2) Support of vulnerable families - US$165/month