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New start for 50 children after rebel attack in DR Congo


Shortly after the opening of our environmental playgroup in Kishishe, a village near Virunga Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we were struck by a terrible tragedy. Rebels of the so-called M23 militia attacked the village of Kishishe and caused a cruel massacre. Many children and their families, as well as our teachers, fled to the nearby village of Kanyabayonga to seek shelter. The playgroup had to be closed because the village of Kishishe was taken by the rebels.

But we did not want to give up. Some families had also found refuge in Kanyabayonga and we decided to reopen the playgroup in order to give the fled children a halfway normal everyday life. After about four months, the time had finally come. The playgroup opened its doors and we welcomed 17 children from Kishishe, 22 new displaced children from Kibirizi, Kiwanja and Bambo and 11 local families. Our program is designed to give hope to the displaced children and their families and to show them that despite all odds, things can go on.

The response was overwhelming. We received seven letters of thanks from displaced families from Kishishe, which reached us through the SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund. The local families were also thrilled and grateful that their children now have a place to play and learn again without worry. We are proud that we can make a small contribution to give a piece of normality back to the people in Congo.