I have been sensing a burden for DRC children since the year 2000, which is the year when I returned to DRC as an adult. Having left the country as a child we immigrated to the UK and after 15 years in the UK, I decided to go back to preach the Gospel of Christ. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling I experienced when I landed. I saw children as young as ten trying to sell me sweets, yet others asking to carry my luggage so I could give them money in return. I asked a couple of them why they were not in school. I got the answer I was expecting "there is no one to pay the school fees and I'm trying to sell these so I can get something to eat". Of course, I knew the plight of Congo's children; I was born there and lived the first 10 years of my life in that nation.
I remember the thought that came to my mind, "I could have been like this boy had I not had the opportunity to escape the world of poverty”. I was really moved by the conditions of these children. I had many questions than I had answers; "I asked myself what can I do?", Where I can I start? The whole experience was overwhelming. The burden never left me to this very day.
Meanwhile the economic situation has gotten much worse now than it was in 2000.
I decided to help a young boy by the name of Papi Mbalumuna, who was living in very difficult condition, and was about to drop out of school. I promised to pay his school fees and clothing items until he finished school. I kept my promise, he finished secondary school and I helped him to go to university to study nursing and now he is married working with Children in Boma.
As I think of Papi now, I often ask myself what he would have become had I not decided to help him. To this day Papi never ceases to remind me that it was the turning point in his life when I decided to help. All Papi needed was someone to help him complete his education and fulfil his dreams, fortunately I was the one to help in this case.
As often as I think of Papi, I say to myself, there are many Papis' out there and it doesn't cost much to give them an opportunity to change their world. I heard a story several years ago which compelled me to do something about children in extreme poverty in DRC.
I was invited to speak in a conference in Uganda where I heard a powerful testimony of Richmond Wandera who was at Compassion sponsored child. When I asked Richmond a few questions he explained that Compassion took him in one of its projects and his life was never the same. He grew up to become a leader in his community and country. He brings together hundreds of church leaders in Africa to a leadership conference in Uganda. He has immense potential and he is thriving and pursuing his dreams. He wonders what would have happened had there been no such project and no sponsor. I was really moved by his story and it ignited the passion in me to do something about the forgotten, poor and broken children of DRC. I decided to get in touch with Compassion and serve the children within this great organisation.
While working at Compassion I felt God directing me to start a project in DRC where I could model what Compassion does and give hope to children in DRC. I wanted to give the children of Congo, especially those living in extreme poverty, the rejected, an environment where they can escape the devastation of poverty and prepare them to become responsible adults who could provide for their families. This is why I have started DRC Children First.