“Giving birth was a moment of both joy and sadness at the same time”

pregnancy and displacement

Amongst the displaced people fleeing the violence of the Djugu territory, in Ituri Province, there are children, elderly people but also pregnant women. The latter are some of the most vulnerable.

Fleeing the violence whilst 8 months pregnant

Mave is over thirty years old. Mother of 5 children, she fled her village of Blukwa with them whilst pregnant. “When my house was burned down, I fled. I lost all contact with my husband as he fled in the other direction to me and my children. I learned through others that he was still alive, but I find this hard to believe”, admits Mave. “Reaching Bunia wasn’t easy. We had to spend two nights in the scrubland. Nights with no food, far away from home. Imagine, at around 8 months pregnant”, continues Mave lying on a hospital bed with her new-born child, just 2 days old.

After the long journey on foot, Mave and her children arrived in Bunia, completely exhausted. “We spent a few more days and nights in the open air, before receiving tarpaulin. My stomach started causing me pain constantly, until I gave birth”, explains Mave. In general, when a baby is born, the family prepares clothes, covers, and food for the mother. But for displaced families, this is a great ordeal.

“Giving birth was a moment of joy and sadness at the same time. Joy because he survived despite the difficult conditions we were experiencing at the moment. Sadness because I didn’t even have any clothes to cover him with”, continues Mave, with tears in her eyes.

A future for every child

Mave has only managed to clothe her newborn son thanks to the solidarity of other women, who gave her some clothing and a bit of food. Mave’s situation is not an isolated case, the same is true for all displaced, pregnant women. At the Bigo health centre, located close to a camp for displaced people in Bunia, around ten displaced women a week come to give birth without paying any fees. The centre’s head nurse is very concerned about the future of these mothers and their newborns. “We can give them medicine and help them giving birth but, as long as they are not eating, and their babies have no clothes, the situation remains difficult”, admits the head nurse.

“After the hospital, I’m going back under my tent. My child will sleep without covers and will be exposed to various diseases. I want peace to be re-established in my village so I can return”, concludes Mave.

Translated from French by Amber Sherman

Firstly published in April 2018

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David a rejoint le Club d'Ecoute pour Enfants en 2012. Deux ans après, il en est devenu le porte-parole puis en 2015, le coordonnateur. La même année, David est devenu Enfant Reporter. Il présente également diverses émissions sur les droits de l'Enfant. "Parler des droits de l'Enfant via les médias, c'est ma préférence". David étudie le droit à Bunia et rêve de travailler à la défense des droits des plus vulnérables.

David joined the Children's Listening Club in 2012. Two years later, David became the spokesperson and in 2015 the coordinator. That same year, David became a child reporter. Since 2014, David has hosted various programmes on child rights.  "I want to use the media to talk about child rights”. David studies law in Bunia and dreams of working to protect the rights of the most vulnerable. He says he will always work for children.

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