July 2017 update: news from the frontline

The fighting in Kasai has severely disrupted Butoke’s activities. However they are trying to get things back on track and we recently received this report:

The orphanage: Butoke continues to care for more than 40 orphans. New orphans arrived as a result of the violence in 2017. The orphans had to be evacuated from Tshikaji (usually the main base for Butoke’s operations) to Kananga (the nearest city) for a number of months as a result of the violence, but they have all survived. The situation was far from ideal with up to 20 children and adults having to stay together in a modest sized flat.

Agriculture: villagers who fled because of the fighting have begun to return to their villages. Most farmers were unable to plant in the last two planting seasons (beginning August last year and earlier this year). Butoke hopes to help farmers prepare for the next planting season (beginning August this year). It is seeking to forge partnerships with an agricultural institute and a seed multiplication centre to further its efforts in this regards.

Nutrition: two million people have been displaced in Kasai and so the need for food is considerable. Butoke has been doing what it can to feed the malnourished and dispossessed refugees, along with other small-scale NGOs.

Education: Butoke’s secondary school was closed from December 2016 until May this year. However by the end of June student attendance was back at 86% with students working hard to catch up on the part of the academic year they had missed.

The clinic: Butoke’s clinic has operated over the last year as a public kitchen and shelter as well as medical centre. More recently, it has been able to focus again on being a clinic. Equipment and drugs were stolen and damaged during the unrest. These cost around $1500 to replace.

The sewing machine project: Many girls miss out on an education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Butoke’s school is trying to help young women who were unable to go to school as children, by providing them with a vocational education. The project provides sewing machines and material and aims to provide students with skills which will enable them to make a living by making and repairing clothes.


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