The Story of Kikula Community
In the Southern Region of Katanga, DRC is the community of Kikula. With a population of over 200,000, it is one of the largest slum townships on the outskirts of the bustling city of Likasi. In 1993, Kikula found itself in the epicentre of civil conflict, with rebel groups fighting for regional independence from the government. The conflict eventually passed over, but in its wake, left thousands of newly orphaned children. With the recurrence of war in Eastern Congo, this number has increased as more and more families and children flee the conflict and head south, most of them ending up in poor communities like Kikula.
Children currently supported: 100
Number of Care Workers: 5
Coordinator Name: Dodo Muzaila
Distance from Likasi Local Office: 17 Km
Basic Services Started: 2010
Though it hosts the largest market in the Likasi area, food is still scarce in the community of Kikula. Many people in the community cannot afford to feed their families due to the high levels of unemployment in the community. Farming is difficult here too, as the mines have polluted the land and the streams. Due to high unemployment amongst the large population, access to education and health care is something most people cannot afford.
The local volunteer Care Workers have come together and continue to develop Mapendo Community Based Organisation (CBO) with the help of the local Hands at Work office. The CBO is able to shop in the market, and benefit from the lower prices there. This also means that the community has better access to more affordable secondhand clothes and blankets, although these are still too expensive for the most vulnerable of the community.
The Care Workers meet regularly in a Relationship Group to talk together, share their personal stories, and to find God’s healing for their struggles so that they can pass this love on to the most vulnerable children in Kikula. It is their call to answer the biblical mandate from James 1:27, to care for the orphaned and widowed in their distress. They are currently providing a daily hot nutritious meal to 100 children. Because of the great need in Kikula the Care Workers are being helped by the local Hands at Work office to understand the importance of caring holistically for the 100 that are under their care.
Jaelle* is just 12 years old. In a community where young girls are often married off, Jaelle is vulnerable to the abuses and unwanted attention of those who would seek to abuse her. Every evening she is left alone to care for her four-year-old brother. Their stepfather must leave them to work as a security guard. He earns a small wage monthly to support his family, but it is still not enough for all their needs. Through the love and support of the local Care Workers in Kikula, Jaelle and her family do not have to carry their burdens alone.
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 Kikula. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.