Right now, in the city of Goma, in the DR Congo, there are thousands of children and young adults living on the streets.
The poverty and insecurity of the rural communities surrounding Goma have driven these young people away from their homes and into the city, where they find themselves with no shelter or income.
As a result, these youths are being drawn into joining street gangs for safety and security. But these gangs quickly lead to lives marked by violence, crime, drugs and alcohol abuse.
Sharing God’s love for each of these vulnerable ‘street kids’, one of our ministry partners in the region created the Uamusho Project, an outreach program that provides refuge and empowerment for young people living on the streets.
The project gives them hope for a brighter future by providing opportunities to attend literacy and numeracy classes, to return to school or university, or pursue vocational training (in skills like mechanics, sewing and tailoring, shoe making etc.).
It’s still early days, but so far, 80 ‘street kids’ have become part of the Uamusho community, and the program has had great success in helping young adults transition from transient street life, restoring in them a sense of dignity (they’re often stigmatised because of the street or gang life that they led) and reintegrating them into society after gaining valuable skills.
Along with developing practical skills and a sense of belonging, another important aspect of the program is working to help these youths who are suffering from incredible trauma.
And as part of their wholistic approach to trauma therapy, Uamusho recently started a brand-new art class.
Today, there are 15 young children attending this art class and while they’re having fun, learning new skills and building confidence, they’re also processing their trauma and finding healing.