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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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Goma - June 16, 2011

Laurent Kubuya is 15 years old and lives with his mother in the Congolese town Goma just around the corner of HEAL Africa’s hospital. Every Sunday he attends the Sunday School of HEAL Africa. The last few Sundays were special. Laurent learnt that there would be the International Day of the African Child on June the 16th. Therefore the teacher Kabamba Faida prepared a little role play with the children to celebrate this day.

Since the beginning of the nineties the International Community commemorates the International Day of the African Child in remembrance of the tragedy of Soweto in 1976. At that time, the apartheid regime of South Africa decided to abolish English as teaching language in schools. Teachers and pupils were instructed to speak Africaans. This would have meant that even less black children could follow and understand classes. So the youth went out in the streets to protest against the new law. The police shot more than 100 children and hurt more than 1000.

Still today millions of African children have difficult lives. Laurent knows this very well. He and his mother live in poverty. The boy has no toys, rarely has enough food to eat and he has only very few items of clothing. The suit which he is sometimes wearing for the Sunday school is borrowed. Laurent likes to be dressed up while singing and praying during class. And he never gives up. He knows that he must be an example for the younger children and especially those even poorer then himself.

While Laurent has a chance to go to school, some of his fellow Sunday School classmates live on the streets abandoned by their families. In the Democratic Republic of Congo only one third of children attend primary school. The average in Sub-Saharan-Africa is 81 percent for boys and 77 percent of girls according to the figures of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The International Day of the African Child reminds the world that there is still a lot to do in Congo. Laurent likes the idea that the memory day puts his destiny in the minds and in the hearts of other people in foreign countries. “We are all brothers and sisters before God”, he says. He smiles and then he turns to the table where the staff of HEAL Africa provides a cup of tea and some cookies for every child.

Kabamba Faida whom everybody just calls Maman Faida looks at the children with a warm smile. She is very happy with the role play which the children gave remembering the International Day of the African Child. She had chosen the good Samaritan as topic for the theater. The 51 year old women says: “I am eager to make sure that those children will develop a good character. The bible helps them to realize that there is no need to steal even if you are poor and that people should care for each other.” The children love Maman Faida. Around 400 to 600 little girls and boys come to HEAL Africa’s Sunday school. For some of them it is the only place to experience love. And this must do for a whole week until Sunday school starts again.