Congo Care Circle
CONGO CARE CIRCLE
The start of 2014, to be exact on 5th January, Restful Waters embarked on a project
`Remembering the Forgotten, Giving Hope - An Epiphany Journey'
to raise funds for the poor and marginalised in the Democratic Republic of Congo
This was a joint project b the mission Development Office, Rome; the Good Shepherd International Justice and Peace Office, New ork; and the Good Shepherd Convent Resful Waters, Singapore. The project brought new awareness on the plight of the people in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mission Partners in Singapore and Malaysia quickly rallied together to organise a series of activities that helped raise S$400,000 over a three-month period! Some of these activities included a school project by the students, parents and teachers of Marymount Convent and "Pineapple Tarts for Funds" by Restful Waters.
The Good Shepherd programmes in Kolwezi have made significant progress for example, fewer children now work in the mines, all children on the programme have at least one meal a day and parents are putting more value to their children's education in the recent Global Sisters Report, Sr. Clare Nolan, International Justice Training coordinator for the Good Shepherd Sisters wrote, "The persistence pays a benefit, as small life-blooming changes are obvious. These are best expressed through the contrasts I saw between the mines and the expanding farm. At the mines the children who accompany the adults are set into a bleak wasteland with toxic water; their faces are blank voids. At the Maisha ("life" in Sawhili) farm, begun by the Sisters and functioning as a community co-operative, the children run by a clear stream giving waves and shy smiles to a stranger passing by. At the mines children escape from the baking sun only when they are sent into tunnels that are too small for adults; they carry out loads of rock that often break the calcium-deprived bones of their arms. The children at the farm carry child-size watering can and can rest in the shade of a tree".
Despite the good progress made, there is still much work to be done such as strengthing community cohesion for the protection of children's and women's rights. Funding is still neeeded to ensure sustainability of the programmes. And so in November this year, Restful Waters initiated the Congo Care Circles. Family and friends are encouraged to form a Congo Care Circle by brining in10 friends. If each one contributes $300, her/his Congo Care Circle will be able to raise $3,000 per circle to help meet our target amount of $300,000.
Stories taken from the Christmas letter from Sr. Catherine Mutindi and her community in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo.
"We had been a lost and forgotten lot. We had consequently begun to forget ourselves. We have been living aimlessly and hopelessly. Your trust in our potential capacity has brought new life to us. We feel valued and have begun to live. We are learning and have gained skills. Now I can farm on my own. I have fed my family of my hands. I have made savings from my working in the farm. This is the place to be. This is life. The farm is green; the mines are dry and barren. In the farm I feel that I am co-creatng the earth with God. I have learnt how to live and work with others. I feel resurrected!" ~ A participant of the Farm Cooperative "Maisha"
"I am Jimb, I am 14 years old. My life was in the mines before I joined the school. I spent my days in the mines from Monday to Monday. I had lost all hope and dream of ever going to school. I had no joy of living . Everyday I lived in fear of the dangers int he mines. I thank God I didn't die like some of my friends. I can hardly believe that now I study like other children who can afford education. I have learnt a lot, even more than some of the children who can afford education. I now know my rights and the rights of other children. I am so gratefuland ask God to bless the people who pay our teachers and buy us food so that we can have opportunity to experience education."
~ A pupil at the informal school, CPP Project.
"I am so grateful that God brought me to this project. What I was living before was not life and I was just short distance from death. As a girl child with such a complicated background as mine (orphanced, working in the mines, living with abusive relatives ...) I am nothing in the society. This project now gives me a reason to refuse early arranged marriage (in tears ...). I want to study and give meaning to my life. I want to acquire skills that will help me find a job to support my siblings. I want to be somebody int he society. Please promise me that this project will stay and help me achieve my desire." ~ A teen girl at the EEP project.