Funding launches Retrak into DR Congo
Retrak has been granted funds to start work in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) via our local partners Kimbilio in Lubumbashi, eastern DRC.
The news could not come soon enough. With an estimated 5,000 street children of Lubumbashi, Kimbilio, runs the outreach centre where hundreds of street children pass through each year. The centre allows them to rest safely, get a shower, wash clothes and take part in sports. They also have access to counselling and school lessons. Parents also use the centre as a first port of call if they are looking for a lost child.
Retrak’s move into DRC represents another significant milestone in the development of our organisation which now helps around 17,000 children and caregivers a year compared to just 800 a year some five years ago.
Poverty-stricken DRC has been plagued by unrest for many years, leaving it in the grip of a humanitarian crisis which has led to a big increase in children begging on streets and at risk of abuse.
Retrak staff are now assisting the local organisation, Kimbilio, based in the heart of the city which can see around 50 street children a day.
Retrak’s research shows international charities and non-government organisations populate the capital Kinshasa but other areas are largely neglected and this is where it wants to concentrate its efforts through more centres. It is thought that around 10,000 children in DRC can be helped with further support.
Maggie Crewes, Retrak’s Director of Programmes, said: “We conducted a feasibility study in 2013 in DRC and I knew we simply had to be there. The need is so huge, street children are often in great danger and Kimbilio alone is reaching out to children on the street in this large city.
“The outreach centre offers a much-needed sanctuary where vulnerable street children can get their basic needs met, talk with counsellors and start the process of reconciliation with families. We’re thrilled to be able to support this critical work in DRC and we thank our donors who have enabled this to happen.”
Director of Kimbilio, Ian Harvey, said: “Kimbilio is delighted to be working in partnership with Retrak. We’ve had a close working relationship over several years and we particularly appreciated Retrak’s excellent quality training around reintegration. We’re really excited about our closer collaboration which we know will enable us to grow our work and assist many more street children in Lubumbashi.”
The funding will enable 300 children to receive counselling and support, regular meals and a part-time carer.