Assisting Children in Need's Soap Production Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) allows previously trafficked women to provide for themselves and their children. This project has become so successful that it today runs without any external funding. Recently the project leaders brought in older girls fighting against the discrimination brought against them because their mothers and/or grandmothers were accused of witchcraft.
In April 2017, after storming into a woman's house and not finding her at home, angry villagers dragged her 14 year old daughter from her home to a nearby field and burned her alive. Since the girl was close to her mother, a "known witch," the villagers were certain that she had joined her mother in the witchcraft that had allegedly killed a relative.
As a result of this tragedy, ACN has partnered with REFEADE, a locally registered non-profit, to assist girls aged 9-14 who have been accused by villagers as witches in Makobola, a collection of villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
When Mrs. Apendeki, Network Coordinator for REFEADE and ACN Country Representative, asked these girls about the discrimination leveled against them, they all agreed that if villagers stopped falsely accusing them, they could focus on studies and later assume positions where they could help other children facing false accusations.
ACN is initially assisting REFEADE with an awareness building campaign against "street justice." The campaign is being led by Makobola's chief and many of the area's most prominent citizens. After the campaign 32 young girls will receive counseling and eventually return to school (the school ACN reconstructed), where they will be on ACN scholarships. Every year they will earn their scholarships as all other ACN scholarship recipients must: through academic achievement, academic improvement, and acts of kindness.
In February 2017 ACN partnered with the Single Mothers Association of Kenya (SMAK) to remove teen mothers and their infants from the streets of the Nairobi slums.
Both the young mothers and their children are provided safety, food, shelter, clothing, and general care for one year on the SMAK compound. While their children receive day care, mothers receive vocational training, e.g., tailoring, soap making, bead work, baking, etc. and counseling.
In February 2018 it will be time to review and learn from the pilot and hopefully, through the support of our donors, expand the program to include not only additional teen mothers, but pre-teen mothers, as well, all of whom have little hope for a sustainable future without our intervention.
The Librarian in our Zelaya Library in Kampala, Uganda, not only manages the day to day operation of the library, but also helps students find books, recommended by Uganda's Ministry of Education, that will enhance their understanding of what was covered in the classroom.
Introducing the Zelaya Library-- the first library in a municipality containing at least 500,000 people. It is located in the slums of Kampala and contains all the government-recommended books for primary and secondary school students. Funded by Jay Zelaya, ACN worked closely with both Jay and Dennis Ssettaala, the Director of SDKF (who is managing the Zelaya Library) to complete construction, purchase books, and develop plans and strategies for its operation.
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