YOUNG REPORTER – In this article, I am going to tell you the story of a child I met at the General Hospital of Bunia.
Bahati is 10 years old. He is one of thousands of children who fled the interethnic violence that has broken out over the past few months in the territory of Djugu, Ituri Province, in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“I went to school when I lived with my parents. When they got divorced, my father began to treat me like a servant at home. I had to leave school,” Bahati tells us.
When intercommunal tensions mounted around the village, Bahati fled. “I was alone in the house that day, and I fled on my own. A kind person took me in their car to Bunia, where I am now,” the boy recounts.
Bahati is not the only one in this situation. Many children have told me stories similar to his. UNICEF and its partners have identified 70 unaccompanied children and 250 separated children in Bunia and the surrounding area. These children are deprived of an education.
In response to this situation, the Provincial Department of Primary, Secondary and Vocational Education is encouraging schools in the city of Bunia to accept displaced children free of charge. Thanks to this initiative, Bahati once again has a seat in the classroom!
He believes that education is all that is left for him in life. What’s more, he has made new friends at school. He thinks of them as his family because he has no one else but them… School also helps him to leave behind his sadness and difficult memories. “I’m delighted to be going back to school,” concludes Bahati.
Every child should go to school. Bahati hopes that these efforts continue and that schools will no longer ask for payment so all displaced children can take up their seats in the classroom once again.
More info about education in Ituri:
Article written by Moise, Young Reporter of Ituri
Translated by Holly-Anne Whyte
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