A Testament to Human Kindness

A Testament to Human Kindness


In the DRC, a widow opens her home to those in need.

Welcoming groups of people into your community isn't always easy – they need to find a place to live and food to eat and this can put pressure on villagers who already struggle to support themselves. Despite these obvious difficulties, communities all over the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) welcome displaced people and offer them support.

The humanitarian situation in the DRC is one of the world's most complex and long-standing. This is due to continuing armed conflict and general insecurity. According to UNOCHA 1.7 million people remained displaced, mostly in eastern DRC, in 2011.

In one village, Kanii, according to locals there are around 200 displaced people living amongst the 450 households. Rachele, displaced by conflict on several occasions has, this time, been here for three years. She first came to the village as a teenager when she was pregnant and fleeing mass atrocities. You might wonder why she returns home but when you have nothing and your home was once somewhere you were able to earn a living perhaps it is more understandable. "I want to return home. I have a farm, livestock and a field of bananas and beans but I know, at the moment, I can't go back."

Rachele lives in a shelter, provided by CARE, next to the family that took her in when she first arrived. The two room shelter is home to her and the 11 children she shares it with – six biological children and the five she adopted when her sister died.

Sangatia, a 50 year old widow, currently supports 24 people, including Rachele, and when you ask her why she simply replies ’˜love'. There is no financial benefit for Sangatia and it is hard to understand why this woman would help so many others but she never questions the assistance she gives. "When new people arrive we see them as brothers and sisters, our feeling is to welcome them. When they arrive we welcome them and think about how we can live together. When we have food we share it."

The story of a displaced woman and the widow that has taken her and her family in is a testament to how the Congolese people help each other in times of crisis. CARE is supporting host communities and villages like Kanii with the provision of shelter kits, seeds and tools so that people can grow crops and feed their families. Community crisis management committees are set up so that people can work together and avoid conflict.

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