BLOG – Unexpected aid for vulnerable people in Tshijiba, 80km from Mbuji Mayi: the province’s Young Reporters collected funds to assist sick children and new-borns!
A community left fragile by a year of conflict
Tshijiba sector is located in the Miabi territory, 80 km from the town of Mbuji Mayi. It is one of the sectors which has played host to atrocities during clashes between law enforcement agencies and the Kamuina Nsapu militia. Fleeing their villages, entire communities have sought refuge in agricultural settlements, far from all basic social services, where the children are exposed to various diseases.
Accompanied by the Kasaï Oriental province’s vice-governor, some of our Young Reporters visited the hospital in Tshijiba, bringing aid to their peers by providing the funds required to pay the hospitalisation fees for sick children and new-borns in the maternity ward.
Mothers worried for their children’s health
At the hospital, the Young Reporters talked to many of the mothers, all of whom were worried for their children’s health. Angèle, aged 24, and mother to a 16 month-old baby, told them her story:
“My four children and I sheltered in scrubland and we were bitten by insects. My children soon began to suffer from several illnesses, including malnutrition. Having heard that UNICEF had sent the NGO APEDE (Amis de Personnes en Détresse) to ensure that malnourished children were cared for, I decided to return to the village. My children were cared for and they all quickly recovered their health.”
A lack of finances
“The baby was 4 months old when we fled and he became malnourished for the first time. He was cared for by APEDE with the support of UNICEF but, three months later, he fell ill again. He’s even had to have a transfusion! I don’t have any finances: I lost my fields, my house was burnt down and my bicycle taken. That’s why I find myself facing the impossible task of paying the supplementary fees that the hospital is requesting.”
Hearing this shocking story, the Kasaï Oriental Young Reporters decided to take care of the fees demanded by the hospital
“Because of this, I can smile again and I am happy to go back to my three other children who stayed at home. You have just paid all the fees for my child’s care and I cannot find the words to express how grateful I am to you all.”
The actions of the Young Reporters
The hospital management and the authorities were surprised to witness this gesture made by the Young Reporters, using the funds that they had collected.
They had carried out appeals for the victims of the conflicts between law enforcement and militia. Community leaders and authorities quickly engaged with the Young Reporters’ cause! Once these funds had been collected, the Young Reporters took charge of the monitoring, management and use of these funds, under the framework of the RJAE (Réseau des Journalistes Amis des Enfants). That day, the Young Reporters put their contribution towards the care of 5 new-borns in the maternity ward, 3 hospitalised children and 15 cases of malnutrition.
It was a day of joy and hope, suggesting a brighter future for the province!
More info about children in Kasai :
Sylvie Lovwa est C4D Officer au bureau de Mbuji-Maji
Sylvie Lovwa is C4D Officer at UNICEF Mbuji-Maji
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