DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC)
ACN Assists Makobola, DRC with 32 Girls 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.
DRC Soap Production Cooperative Becomes Totally Self-Reliant
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.
ACN partners with REFEADES
ACN currently assists a group of women, REFEADES-/FIZI –DRC, in Atuta-Makobola, a war-ravaged territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). All the women were physically abused by rebels during the war. After the war, they courageously faced up to their aggressors and convinced both the rebels and government troops to declare a certain area "a Child-Friendly Zone" for the many orphans who were also victims of war.
A number of these orphans lost their parents when 700 of them, at gunpoint, were forced by rebels to gather near the old school building where they were set on fire.
Initial assistance was to build a well in the Child Friendly Zone and purify its water because children in the Zone were experiencing widespread dysentery and dehydration. As a result, not only did the dysentery for over 450 children in the Child Friendly Zone almost totally disappear, but also the same could be said for all the children and adults in an adjacent village, where we had installed a water pipe system from the well we had dug.
ACN has completed the rebuilding of the war-damaged walls of the Zone’s school buildings, and has provided desks, benches, and textbooks so that all 450 children have their own.