JRS holds a project meeting in Kashaka IDP Camp JRS holds a project meeting in Kashaka IDP Camp 

JRS launches project to support child refugees in DRC

Jesuit Refugee Service has launched a new project in the Democratic Republic of Congo to provide education to children and help empower vulnerable households affected by conflicts.

By Sr. Katleho Khang, SNJM

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the resurgence of violence in DRC’s North-Kivu province has caused the displacement of almost 1 million people since March 2023, including in the provinces of South Kivu and Ituri.

Civilians continue to suffer from the armed and ethnic conflicts, and the humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC mainly affects children.

In response, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is seeking to guarantee education and protection for as many children as possible, especially to the most vulnerable.

In an interview with Vatican News, Victor Setibo, JRS regional director, described his organization’s work to support and protect the rights of refugees with a particular focus on vulnerable children and teenagers in this dramatic humanitarian crisis.

The JRS Structured Child Protection Programme supports children and adolescents from displaced populations and host communities, and is operating in the towns of Mugunga, Masisi, and Minova.

It seeks to improve their psychosocial well-being, making provisions for them to live and study in a protective environment and helping vulnerable households improve their resilience and income.

Mr. Setibo said the new project is sponsored by JRS USA and directly serves over 10,000 children.

According to the agency’s plan, 500 secondary school students will benefit from rehabilitated and equipped infrastructure, 1,500 girls will receive menstrual hygiene kits, 4,500 girls will take part in various activities in child-friendly spaces, and 45 women will be trained in monitoring and crisis management according to a community-based child protection approach.

Although progress has been made in providing services for this population, much work still needs to be done to respond to the needs of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We hope to protect these children from becoming perpetrators of abuse and violence in the community, concluded Mr. Setibo. “The project would like to guarantee them a better future.”

Listen to the full interview

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25 June 2024, 14:34