In the month of May, we are working together with other Grow, Proclaim, Serve boys and girls across our country to help fund the feeding program at the Kamina Children’s Home.
In the mid and late 1990’s, a staggering number of children flooded into Kamina, DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Due to the violence, disease, and poverty caused by the war, these children and thousands like them were orphaned. Often following the death of parents, children are taken in by other family members. Unfortunately, the speed and quantity of children orphaned at this time were more than the community could absorb.
Hundreds of children in Kamina alone were left without parents or any means of survival.
In 1997, the United Methodist Church in the North Katanga District responded to this need by opening an orphaned children’s home. It began with one woman bringing six children into her home, and by 2000, it had become a full facility. Widowed women from the community cared for the forty children seen as being the most at risk.
Along with the children’s home, the church worked to place other children into homes in the community. Extended families agreed to take them in with the promise that the church, in partnership with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief), would help feed them. This was the start of the extended feeding program.
Last fall, construction was completed that increased the capacity of the home to 160 children. Currently there are almost 50 children living in this facility, with many more who desire to be in the program. The goal this year is to increase that number as we secure commitments from churches in the United States to sponsor these and additional children.
Recently a volunteer partnership began between the children’s home and the members of the Kamina-Ville JPC (Young Adults for Christ). These volunteers are constructing a garden, playing soccer with the kids, and telling Bible stories in the evenings.
To help keep these severely overstretched new family units together, the North Katanga Conference and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) partnered to start the external feeding program. About 500 children, selected based on need (orphans, children in single-parent homes, and other high-risk situations), were fed multiple times per week thanks to this partnership.
With the coming of calm to the DRC, and of humanitarian disasters in other parts of the world, UMCOR shipments of food to Kamina have ended. The need, however, has not. In recent months, the external feeding program has suffered dramatic cut-backs and even sporadic suspensions of operation.
There is currently no sustainable funding source for this program. Finding one is among our top priorities.
The money collected by your church and churches all across the country will help to feed the children of this area. The boys and girls at Kamina orphanage are our neighbors. We are called to love and share with them, just like the early church that your child has been learning about.
Annual Goal: $85,000
Location: DRCongo, Africa
Partner: The UMC, North Katanga Episcopal Area Kamina Orphanage Advance