Returning to school after months of violence in Kasai

Miketa is a village in the Miabi territory, in the south-east of the Kasai-Oriental province, which has been shaken by the violence occurring the Greater Kasai region since August 2016. Now that calm has returned and humanitarian aid has arrived, the inhabitants that had fled due to the violence are returning.

In the school year 2017-18, only half of the children in the village were registered at school. It was a difficult situation because the schools were in a bad state – the chairs, benches, blackboards and textbooks had been stolen or destroyed and the walls were covered with traces of fire.

Luckily, the situation has changed greatly for this new school year. In September, the “Send the children to school” appeal was launched by the Miabi territory’s administrator. Many inhabitants that had abandoned the village still lived in the bush, making it difficult for the children to go back to their normal lives by returning to school.

To encourage parents to send their children back to school, UNICEF provided textbooks, recreation kits and school supplies for the students. Thanks to this help, families in Miketa sent their children back to school.

When the violence hit the village, the inhabitants fled. Chantal, who has five children, remembers that day. She lost sight of two of her children in the chaos as they fled, and spent weeks in the bush not knowing where they were or even if they were still alive.

When calm was restored, Chantal went back to the village and found her children, safe and well, with neighbours who had fled in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, Chantal discovered that her house had been destroyed during the fighting. In spite of that, she was determined to have a quiet life again, and to give her children the chance to go to school. UNICEF’s support was timely for Chantal – her five children were given books, pens and pencils. “Thanks to the help we got, and as we won’t have to pay any school fees, I can guarantee that all my children will get to study”, Chantal concludes, happily.

Since calm has returned to Miketa, the families have regained their village, bit by bit. After months of violence and fleeing, calm returning has become a synonym for school returning. Girls and boys are preparing to address the future of their country.

Translated from French by Lucy Oyelade

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Sylvie Lovwa

Sylvie Lovwa est C4D Officer au bureau de Mbuji-Maji

Sylvie Lovwa is C4D Officer at UNICEF Mbuji-Maji

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