Displaced children: we have the right to have fun

© UNICEF DRC Hubbard

My name is Marcel, I’m eighteen years old and I’m a candidate for the State exam for secondary school. I live in Kyoko, a village located 120km from the city of Kalemie which is the political and administrative centre of the new Tanganyika province. Like all my classmates, I had to give up my studies because of the instability caused by the clashes between the pygmies and the bantous.

My friends and I were displaced two years ago and we now live in ‘Kalunga’, one of the camps for displaced people in the outskirts of Kalemie. Life is tough and our existence as children is under threat. Like the other children I have witnessed horrific and terrifying scenes that are still fresh in my memory. Along with our poor living conditions, we are accumulating failed dreams, stress and traumas.

Since we’ve been in the camp we’ve received help with food, household products and clean water but I’ve not seen any structured programme to provide entertainment for the children. Thousands of children and young people are in difficult circumstances and need to rebuild themselves both mentally and psychology.

A few awareness workshops were run by Child Reporters on children’s rights, among which is the right to have fun. In my case, my only source of entertainment was my phone but it was stolen when I went to watch a football match. A lot of young people that live in the camps are often victims of theft.

Displaced people need the essentials to survive but entertainment is also vital for us children! Psychological monitoring for children in difficult situations is a long-term investment.

More info on displaced children in DRC

Kindly translated from French by Atholl Simpson

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Originaire de Kyoko, Marcel a fui la violence qui ravageait son village. Il a maintenant trouvé refuge à Kalunga, l’un des camps de déplacés de la périphérie de Kalemie.

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