The Story of KiTABATABA Community
Kitabataba is a township on the outskirts of the bustling city of Likasi in southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It has become one of the region’s poorest communities, devastated by the civil war of 1993, and is still affected by the decimated infrastructure that the war left in its wake. Along with the many children orphaned since the civil conflict, many more vulnerable families have fled the more recent conflict in eastern DRC and found a home in crowded slums like Kitabataba. Institutional models of care such as clinics, hospitals, orphanages and even schools are scarce in Kitabataba. For this reason, the children are left all the more vulnerable.
Children currently supported: 150
Number of Care Workers: 14
Coordinator Name: PAPA IRUNG
Distance from Likasi Local Office: 8 KM
Basic Services Started: 2011
In 2011, Hands at Work entered Kitabataba for the first time, mobilising local church leaders to take up the Biblical mandate to care for the poorest of the poor in their community. Volunteer Care Workers from a number of churches identified the most vulnerable children in the area, and began to visit them daily in their homes, bringing parental love and care, as well as feeding them what little they could from their own resources. In 2012, the provision of daily food, access to education and basic health care was introduced to 50 of the most vulnerable children in Kitabataba. Today, the Kitabataba Care Workers visit and care for 100 children, bringing support and encouragement and hope for a brighter future.
The Care Point where they meet is currently at a local church, but the space is small and the situation unsustainable. It is here that they provide a daily hot, nutritious meal, as well as help with basic health and basic education. In Kitabataba, Care Workers know that this is not enough on its own. They have committed to knowing the children by name and visiting them in their homes to better understand their struggles and needs. Having learned how to help carry the burdens of their fellow Care Workers and bring healing through weekly Relationship Groups, they have also brought the same level of spiritual and emotional healing to the homes of the children they regularly visit.
At 11 years old, Lumumba* spends many nights alone in abandoned buildings and half-built structures. After the death of both of his parents, he was taken in by an aunt. Lumumba’s aunt is a very broken woman, and is unable to care for him in a loving way. Lumumba often runs away from his home. Care Workers are working closely with Lumumba’s aunt in a commitment to ensure he has a safe home life. Lumumba feels safe at the Care Point and knows he has many mother and father figures there to rely on. He knows they love him and care for him.
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 Nyota. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.