The Children We Work With
Joel had polio when he was little. His family could not have him vaccinated against polio because they were hiding out in the bush as the war raged around their village. Soldiers killed Joel’s dad. For most of his childhood, Joel had to crawl and drag his limbs on the ground with flip flops on his hands. This was not only humiliating for him, but also painful and unsanitary.
NHC helped to pay for surgery and special treatments at the handicap center where Joel received braces and crutches so he can walk. NHC also paid for his school fees and now in 2014 he is in the 3rd year of high school.
Joel is very active in his church and grateful for how God has helped him through NHC and the many caring people around him.
David and his sister came to NHC to participate in one of the grief support groups there. Their dad had disappeared and for 3 or 4 years they thought that he had been killed in the war like many other men.
But one day they got news that their dad was still alive. He had taken another wife and had 3 new children. He wanted nothing to do with his first wife and David and his sister. David explained to us how much it hurt to be rejected by his father.
David is 7 yrs old in this photo but looks more like the size of a 5 year old because at home they don't have much to eat. Their mom works as a day laborer, carrying suitcases and heavy bags for people at truck and bus stops. She makes very little money but has no other way of supporting her family. David says that when mom hasn't earned much they go to bed hungry and "we just drink water".
Today David and his sister are going to school thanks to NHC who pays their school fees. They are both doing very well in school and are always at the top of their classes. NHC also helps the family with a dry mix of soy, sorghum, corn and sugar with which they can prepare a porridge rich in protein to eat before going to school.
David likes to play with legos at the center. He dreams about one day becoming a builder or engineer. He also loves to sing in his church and has a very nice voice.
These 3 siblings’ mom died three years ago. “She was very ill and didn’t get the medicine that she needed so she died. Our dad hasn’t remarried because he’s afraid that a step-mother wouldn’t like us as much as her own children.” In Congo, a family’s dynamics can change drastically if one parent has died and the other remarries. Sometimes, the step-parent has children of his/her own whom they favor. This can mean that the step children receive less food, have more work at home, and are not allowed to go to school.
The 3 siblings live close to the Center and have been coming to our grief support groups for a while. “It’s helping us a lot because we feel safe talking about our mom who died.” NHC is also paying for the two sisters to go to school because their father does not make enough money to pay for their school fees.
Paul is from a small village outside of Goma. His mom died when he was 5 years old. Soldiers came to his village one day and killed about 500 people. “It was very bad. Every family lost somebody.”
In Paul’s family, there were four brothers and his dad left alive after the massacre. His dad started drinking a lot and did not take care of them. His oldest brother also started using drugs and alcohol. Paul explains, “If the church hadn’t helped us with food I don’t know what would have happened to us. We were invited to come to the grief support group at the church and it really changed things for us. My brother stopped using drugs and alcohol and started to cook and take care of us. NHC helped us so we could go to school. We got clothes and shoes.”
In 2009, Paul’s father died. “Now we’re on our own,” says Paul. ”It’s been hard, but because of HNC and all the help and hope they give us, we’re doing so much better.”
In the photo, Paul is proud to show you a sweatshirt that a child in the USA sent to him.