Kisunka Community (Democratic Republic of Congo) is a community divided. A stream runs through the middle, separating the Care Points called Kitando 1 from the other side, Kitando 2. For years, the children of Kitando 1 have been cut off from the school during the rainy season when the stream turns into a river. While many Primary Caregivers feared their children crossing the river, those who did would swim across with their school uniform held above their heads in plastic bags. They would dry off, get dressed and carry on to meet up with their classmates from Kitando 2. The community of Kisunka has recently been brought together.
The local Hands at Work team in Likasi, the Care Workers of Kitando 1 & 2, the Primary Caregivers, the church leaders and members from the surrounding community came together, united to find a solution to the dangers that children were facing in order to attend school. A decision was made to build a bridge across the river to ensure the safety of the children. Members of the community committed to providing the necessary supplies like sacks and wood as the people came together to start construction. The work started by diverting the water and securing the wood poles before laying on the top of the bridge.
Today, it is safer and easier for the children to go to school. Several of the people who helped with the construction of the bridge have been interested in the Community Based Organisation operating at the Kitando 1 & 2 Care Points. Two men have committed to being Care Workers. Hands at Work in Africa is committed to seeing local community ownership coming alive.
16-year-old Sarah’s* father struggles with a chronic illness which means that providing for his family is difficult. Taking on the role of breadwinner, Sarah’s mother tries to sell vegetables in the market. In 2014, when the Kisunka Care Workers were out doing Holy Home Visits, they met Sarah and her family and, seeing how Sarah’s mother was shouldering the family’s responsibilities, invited Sarah and her siblings to the Life Centre, where they could ensure the children would be cared for holistically.
At the Life Centre, Sarah is joyful and energetic and enjoys playing games – particularly skipping – with her friends. She is hard working and serves the Care Workers by helping to clean the dishes after the children have received their daily meal.
Bonte* is a six-year-old boy who is one of Junelle’s* two living children. Junelle’s husband was working in a nearby mine when he was killed, and she then suffered the devastating loss of her first-born child in infancy. This grief and despair would seem too much for anybody to handle, yet Junelle gave birth again, a year ago, as a result of abuse from a stranger. Junelle often has epileptic seizures, causing not only embarrassment, but physical harm. Due to the unpredictable nature of her epilepsy, Junelle has been unable to find work.
But God has not forgotten Bonte’s family. This can be seen through the life and love brought by #CareWorker Rachel from Kisunka Community Based Organisation (CBO). Rachel sees this family exactly as they are – created in God’s image and loved deeply as His children. Junelle has learned to smile again because of the consistent encouragement and love that Rachel has shown to her family. God has seen Bonte and his family and has heard their cry. Pray for the continued healing of Bonte and his mother, and thank God that He is using loving Care Workers who are dedicated to making a difference in their lives.
200 of the most vulnerable children in Kisunka receive a daily meal, access to education and access to basic health care.
One of the desperately vulnerable homes in Kisunka Community.
Children play with an Australian International Volunteer at the Kisunka Care Point.