Kitabataba, Democratic Republic of Congo
Valentina* is only 7 years old, yet most of her life has been spent struggling to survive. When her father passed away, her mother was left with five children to care and provide for. In the extremely poor community of Kitabataba, finding income to buy food is almost impossible for the most vulnerable families. Valentina’s mother tried selling vegetables, but in the dry season nothing grew, and soon her children began to starve.
Valentina was suffering from serious malnutrition when Care Workers in Kitabataba found her. These Care Workers are volunteers from the local church who have answered the call of God to care for those who are suffering.
When they met Valentina’s family and saw her state and the desperation of her mother, they intervened to save her life. Valentina began receiving one meal every day at the Kitabataba Life Centre. Her health improved, but tragically her illness and other recurring illnesses have affected her brain and stunted her developmental growth.
Though she will face many challenges, Valentina’s health has stabilised. This has allowed her Care Workers to develop a deeper relationship with Valentina and her family. They want to build a friendship of trust amongst each other. Valentina’s mother is so grateful God sent the Kitabataba Care Workers to her family. Knowing she is not alone in raising her daughter has relieved a heavy burden from her heart.
As the Care Workers see many challenges in the lives of the children they care for, they are unmoved from their calling. Kitabataba has poor water sanitation, creating health issues for many children. These photos show the shelter Care Workers and local church members have built in Kitabataba. It is very basic, but it is what the community has given out of their own poverty. This sacrifice is made out of the love they have for Valentina and the 74 other children they are caring for in Kitabataba. They want to bring healing on many levels to their community in hopes that the most vulnerable families can start living each day for much more than just survival.
*Child's name has been changed