by James Sloan 

Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has displaced over 3 million people and many of these are now living in extreme poverty, especially in the North-East of the country. An estimated 4,000 displaced people have fled to Kasindi, an urbanisation of around 50,000 people, close to the Ugandan border. In November, Doug Penman and I travelled to Kasindi to visit the projects that 'Imagine If Trust' and our partner charity 'New Hope' have been supporting.

Health Centre

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Construction of the health centre has made good progress with the walls and roof timbers all finished. It was such a joy to see it taking shape after many months of planning. It feels huge in amongst the small mud huts that are spread throughout Kasindi. The centre will contain 20+ beds across 4 wards, diagnostic equipment and an operating theatre employing around 10 staff.

Feeding Programme

Alongside the health centre, we have been financing a feeding programme through a local church. Displaced families bring their children 3 times a week for a cup of porridge and assessment by a nurse. It was an honour to serve the porridge to these beautiful little children who beamed with joy to be served by Mzungu's (white people). The nurser running the programme has reported weight gain in many of the children since beginning the scheme. 

Primary School

After our visit in 2016 we saw that many of the displaced children were unable to afford education and spent most days on the streets. After some investment in classrooms there are now over 100 pupils who attend school every morning during the week. I had the privilige of attending the school's official opening ceremony. 

Internally Displaced People

One of the highlights for me was meeting one of the displaced people who fled his village early in 2016 after rebels attacked. He was a cobbler but had left all his equipment along with his wheelchair in the village when he fled. When we met him in April 2016 he was crawling on his hands and knees with no means to make a living. During our visit in March 2017 we were able to take him some shoe making equipment and a wheelchair. It was a joy to meet him and his family again and hear how he has been able to provide for his family! 

I'd like to say a huge 'thank you' to everyone who has supported the project financially and in prayer. I cant begin to tell you how much of an impact your generosity is having in the DRC!

If you would like to find out more please e-mail lovecongo@imagineiftrust.org.