The Story of TOYOTA Community
War erupted in the DRC in 1993. Its aftermath crushed the local economy and displaced millions of people. In 2006 the rate of orphans in Toyota was enough to move a group of men and women in the community to begin caring for their orphaned children. After the creation of a partnership with Hands at Work, local staff and Care Workers identified the most vulnerable children. Tujenge was the first Community Based Organisation (CBO) in the DRC and all the other CBOs have since been born out of Toyota. Though the Care Workers that make up Tujenge have been coping with the struggles that the DRC has thrown at them and now have a large well of experience to pull from, problems still find their way here. Toyota is potentially one of the poorest communities in Likasi with a population of over 50,000 and growing.
Children currently supported: 150
Number of Care Workers: 12
Distance from Likasi Local Office: 13 KM
Basic Services Started: 2009
Reaching out to local clinics and churches, the volunteer Care Workers began to walk a long road to support the most vulnerable. Tujenge began caring and intervening in the lives of the truly desperate and impoverished providing children with the 3 Essential Services of food, education and health care. Struggling through many obstacles the Care Workers now care for 150 orphaned and vulnerable children with the aim of reaching many more. Children receive a nutritious meal daily at the local Care Point, with a view to opening another Care Point elsewhere in the community for children who live far away. The volunteer Care Workers also established and continue to maintain a local community school, through which children who are unable to pay school fees can attend.
Yet it is the way that Tujenge Care Workers visit children in their homes that makes the real difference. Visiting orphaned and vulnerable children in their homes is the foundation of everything Hands at Work does. Community volunteers, who regularly visit the children, build up strong relationships enabling them to support each child physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This also helps them to accurately assess each child’s needs and make a plan for how to best intervene and provide sustainable care for them.
In order to address the most essential needs of an orphaned or vulnerable child in Tujenge CBO, Hands at Work aims to provide one nutritious meal to each child per day, as well as provide access to education and basic health care.
Lucien* is 7 years old and has had a difficult young life. After the death of his father, he moved with his mother to stay with relatives. Lucien was a frustrated and unhappy little boy who did not want to interact with others. When Mama Mireille, a local Care Worker, began visiting his family in their home, Lucien began to slowly change. Today he can often be seen joyfully playing with his friends at the Care Point. Lucien is also excelling in school.
The Hands at Work office in Likasi currently supports seven Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Tujenge. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.