New Year May Bring More Misery for Kasai's Children

Ongoing clashes between militias and security forces have displaced thousands of families and left 850,000 children in the DR Congo without access to basic services. Now the World Food Program is being forced to cut food rations for the third time in as many months.

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Photo: Unicef

Gabrielle was associated with the militia and witnessed extreme violence in several battles with security forces. She’s now recovering at a reintegration centre in Kananga and she writes her biggest wish on the chalkboard.

Photo: Unicef

When resources are scarce across the entire Kasai, something like a soccer ball is a luxury for anyone. This boy has taken plastic bags and old bits of rubber garbage that he found lying around, and he fashioned the soccer ball. This simple ball gives him a passport to a game and a whole world of dreams imagining Barcelona, AC Milan or Lionel Messi. Sports can help the children keep their minds occupied and takes it off of the troubles that they have seen.

Photo: Unicef

Boys use old bottle tops to play a game of checkers. It helps occupy their minds and take their thoughts off of the troubles, off of all the violence that they have seen. The games get heated and the banter among the boys reflects a universal playground patter heard all over the world. The boys have settled into a happy rhythm at the center in Kananga. They are helping each other heal and recover from what they have been through.

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