Provide A Brighter Future For Former Child Soldiers
For 18+ years the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has been embroiled in a bitter civil war that has affected over 40,000 children from the ages of 6-16. In 2013 the United Nations released the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC where it noted that conscripted child soldiers form 30% of soldiers operating in various militia groups in the DRC.
Remember Youth for Change (RYC) is a registered non-profit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that since 2016 has been working with former child soldiers as well as others impacted by the ongoing civil war. Their mission is to bring hope for “traumatized kids affected by war in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo”.
RYC gives these children a different path for their future through skills, mental health support and community reintegration.
Through RYC’s professional trades programs in fields such as carpentry, tailoring, and agriculture plus creativity, reading and writing workshops new skills and confidence is built. In turn, economic opportunities are created that offer new paths for their lives and brighter futures.
The benefits to children through playing are well documented and include stress coping and regulating emotions, which makes community reintegration with “kids helping kids” play activities such as music, sports, and drama even more essential.
BBS is pleased to support the vision of RYC and its’ founder, Bienvenu Kamwendo, who as a child was impacted by the war in the DRC. Today, Bienvenu is a lawyer, alumnus of Young African Leaders Initiative the flagship program of former President Obama for Young African Leaders, and was part of the inaugural cohort in The Athari Group’s accelerator for non-profit leaders.
Remember Youth For Change is looking for support to scale up their exisiting professional trades programs as well as build on the activities for the children currently offered. The above video introduces the use of music in the trauma healing process and gives you a chance to hear directly from Bienvenu.
Special focus is being given as well to the tailoring program and assisting a minimum of 60 women that are former soliders too.
Long term the children and young adults will have economic opportunities and alternative pathways for their lives which will help them rise out of poverty and be contributing members of their communities. Equally this project rebuilds a sense of community and trust, while helping communities, families, and individuals to heal.
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