Part 1 of 2
The following are highlights of significant projects undertaken over the past 10 year to educate orphans and assist a humble Nazareth United Methodist Church recover from civil war in Kasungami, located in the southeastern tip of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Africa.
Dedication of Child Action Initiative (CAI) founder, (Isaiah) Esaie Njimbu Chot, with his wife Yvette; generous financial support from Oak Ridge United Methodist Church (ORUMC) and church members; United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR); financial support from individual donors, support from David Heiser, a licensed environmental engineer and member of Fuquay-Varina UMC and Max and Shirley Kern, members of ORUMC who led a six member building team to Kasungami, has enabled Isaiah and Yvette through CAI to accomplish many significant goals, primarily to educate orphans, victims of civil war and HIV/AIDS in Kasungami.
During this period, Yvette and Isaiah were blessed with the birth of their son Eddie, now seven years of age, who attends a local school.
Isaiah, Yvette and Eddie have made personal sacrifices under less than ideal conditions not common in our country, personally fighting malaria and typhoid fevers, lack of food and high monetary inflation.
After graduation from Africa University (A.U.) in 2006 with a degree in Sociology at age 39, Isaiah returned to his home in the city of Lubumbashi, DRC. What struck him immediately was the number of children orphaned by civil war and an HIV/AIDS epidemic. This inspired him to establish CAI to help care for and educate orphans. In 2006 Kasungami's population was approximately 4,000. The population has swelled to over 52,000 in 10 years as people fled to the area to escape civil war in the north and seek employment in nearby mines - in which there are limited jobs.
There are no church run orphanages in Kasungami. These children have been taken in by relatives, grandparents (some in their 80's), friends and neighbors, who have little or no income or means to support themselves. There is a lack of: adequate nutritious food, electricity, potable water, sewage treatment, latrines, health facilities to deliver babies, medical treatment for malaria, typhoid fever and other water borne diseases; jobs and government run programs that most of us take for granted.
Isaiah identified numerous vulnerable children and his heart was breaking with grief. "How could he sustain them? The first year he enrolled 22 orphans in school with money donated during our visit. The second year 50 students were enrolled in school and since then 100 students have attended school annually. Many children are older than 6 years of age when they enter first grade. Some age out of regular school and can now attend vocational school to learn masonry, carpentry, mechanics or tailoring. Part of the schooling had initially been funded by UMCOR, however those grants have ended.
When Isaiah saw a 10 year old boy working in a field he asked him if he would like to attend school. The boy said he had to work to help his mama feed the family. Isaiah arranged for him to work after school and Saturday and he is now attending school.
The impact on the young people and village has been very positive. Ten students have completed high school in the last two years. Three young ladies completed sewing class, started a sewing workshop and recently employed two other young ladies.
Three students are learning masonry. One of them completed the program a few years ago and is a community builder. He worked on building the Nazareth parsonage and is working on construction of the CAI Center. Four students are in the general mechanics program. Students that have completed job training skills have started their own vocations in brick laying and tailoring shops.
Levy Tshota Kayembe completed high school and is currently studying sociology through an A.U. scholarship made possible through financial support from ORUMC. He is an orphan due to civil war and thankful for this opportunity. He plans to return to Kasungami to assist Isaiah with CAI and contribute to the development of the church and Kasungami area.
The students were overjoyed to receive sneakers and socks from "Shoes & Socks for Isaiah's Kids" started by Sydney Wentz in 2009, now a middle school student. Students are required to wear shoes in school and it minimizes ring worm infection. Most children did not have any shoes and some that did shared them with a sibling - each wearing a single shoe!
Joka Lumeka stated:"My guardians couldn't afford to buy me shoes I needed for my education and health protection. It was so challenging, what then will become of feet without shoes and socks? I could succumb to peer pressure and become robber to get them, many children are living with financial difficulties. Some of the older children never had their own pair of shoes before. These are not for a status symbol, but they play important roles of protecting the foot from the hazards of the outside world. It was so exciting to be getting new shoes."
CHILD ACTION INITIATIVE
My name is/je m’appelle:____Ezaie Mulombo_; sex/sexe: Male I am/j’ai: 15 yrs old/ans
School information/education: Class/classe: 3 Section:…Centre de Rattrapage /Center…….
My story: my father passed away three years ago. For us to survive, I had to cut trees in the bush and burn for charcoals. I used to work with my father’s big brother. One day as I was collecting some sticks of the tree to fire I was surprise to see that the guy was not around. He left and went away. It was so strange and I couldn’t understand anything. So I was taken back to my grandmother. Some days later she was paralyzed because of her blood pressure. By God’s grace the information reached CAI through the village leader. So I was taken to the Center. I am receiving shoes, socks, uniform and school supplies. I am happy. I can now make my way.
My Vision/dream:/ reve: to do mechanics
Spiritual Activities/ vie spirituelle: church going guy
Hobbies/favoris: music and soccer……….……………….
Anything to share/Commentaires: This was a case of witchcraft. The plan was to kill me, but God protected me. Keep praying for me.
Date: October, 25/10/2016
Signature: Ezaie Mulombo
Without an education the children's lives are hopeless. All this requires donations for school tuition, including vocational schools, uniforms, shoes, school supplies, nutritious lunches (the only meal of the day for some children) vaccines and medical care.
Please consider making a financial donation to CAI. If you would like to donate please go to GBGM Advance in your browser. Click on Advance Project Search. Enter Project Number 3021036. Click on Find, click on Child Action Initiative and then follow directions OR you can send a donation to Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Check Memo: 3021036. 100% of all donations go to Child Action Initiative.
Please look for Part 2 in the near future to learn about the church repairs, 3 wells, the Women's and Children's Center, the parsonage building team and other projects in Kasungami.
Bev and Ed Wentz
U.S. Coordinators and Advocates for Child Action Initiative
Western North Carolina United Methodist Conference
Northern Piedmont District
Oak Ridge United Methodist Church
Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310