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.

 

2017 – The humanitarian Crisis in The Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is in crisis. The crisis has gone more or less completely unreported in the western media but the UN estimates that 1 million people have fled their homes and that 731,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children, need humanitarian assistance. The number of people affected generally appears to be over 4 million.

How the crisis has affected Butoke 

The crisis has affected Butoke directly:

  • Kananga, the city to which Butoke evacuated its orphans following fighting close to Tshikaji where it is normally based, has now also seen widespread violence. Civilians have been killed.
  • Of the thirteen final year students whom Butoke was sponsoring, one was killed in the fighting, five fled their homes, and only seven took their final exams.
  • Twenty seven members of the extended family of Butoke’s chief nurse were murdered in a massacre committed by a militia group.
  • Butoke has had to close its school in Tshikaji for the time being due to the insecurity all around it.

How is Butoke responding to the crisis? 

Butoke continues to care for its orphans in Kananga. It has got them into a school there but is struggling to pay the fees.

It is providing food to displaced people.

The school, which was closed for several months as a result of the violence and instability, is now open.

2017 – Support provided to Butoke by the Friends of Butoke Charity

In 2017 the Charity’s income was just under £24k. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone whose generosity contributed to that total.

During 2017 we sent just under £26k to Butoke (we had a small surplus at the end of 2016). The majority of that went towards the running costs of the orphanage run by Butoke. However we also sent £2400 towards the cost of new equipment for Butoke’s school.

In 2016 The Friends of Butoke Charity raised over £16,000 . We sent £14,600 to help with the running costs of Butoke’s orphanage. Butoke particularly depends on the Friends of Butoke Charity in the UK and a similar US organisation raising funds for the orphanage because the large aid organisations which have provided funds for other projects run will not fund it. As well as helping with the costs of the orphanage, with your help we raised roughly £2000 to pay for the installation of solar panels to provide electricity for the Clinic run by Butoke. However at the moment the situation in the DRC is too unstable for the installation to take place.

This week is World Water Week #WWWeek

In 2014 Butoke capped 6 springs which now provide access to clean drinking water for around 80,000 people. The Friends of Butoke is very grateful to the clean drinking water project funded by The Kitchen Table Charities Trust who provided The Friends of Butoke with a grant of £10,000 to make this possible.

Capping a spring ensures clean drinking water by preventing the water source being contaminated by animal and human waste. The health benefits are huge: child mortality in the population served by springs previously capped by Butoke has fallen very substantially (by about one third) because there has been a large reduction in the number of cases of diarrhoea. In addition, the local population generally drink insufficient water because of the difficulty in obtaining it and the fear of diarrhoea. Higher clean water consumption has resulted in improved health, for example, fewer kidney infections. Access to clean water is essential