MONUC supporting street children

MONUC supporting street children
Nina Yacoubian / MONUC
23 nov. 06 – 17.00h

On 22November  2006, MONUC inaugurated a food and market-gardening production project for street children, commonly called ‘shegués’, who are lodged in the Mikonga recuperation and educational center in Kinshasa.

The project, which was initiated by MONUC within the framework of the quick impact projects (QIP) was coordinated by a local church in the commune of N’Sele in Kinshasa.

This project was co financed by MONUC, with a contribution of US $14,828 for the purchase of materials. The local church provided funds of US $9,255 for the construction of the centre on the land that was bought by the World Bank. The United Nations agency for food and agriculture (FAO) also brought technical assistance to the project.

From June to October 2006, 14 hectares of ground were cultivated, and that made it possible to pay for the food, schooling, healthcare and clothes of 50 street children often accused of sorcery.

“We did not kill our parents so that means we are not sorcerers. We are a part of society, but we are maltreated and exploited by society for their own interests,” said one of the children.

This project proved that, when given the opportunity under the right conditions, these children can live like everybody else and be integrated into society, explained the representative of the center.

“Today, with a total of 800 pupils in the school, it is difficult to recognise these children among all the others.”

For the long term, this project will be used “to generate income which will be used to purchase seeds and other materials for the next agricultural season,” said Mr. Mujahid Alam, adviser to the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC.

Annually MONUC devotes nearly a million dollars to these projects which are used as bridge between MONUC and the people of the RDC; since it “is not an agency of development, its contribution through QIPs is rather small and limited, said Mr. Alam.

This project is one in a series of action envisaged in the fields of health, education, and the assistance to the victims of sexual violences, among others. On the whole, 208 projects were implemented between 2001 and 2005, and 104 others are in the pipeline.

Moreover, MONUC works jointly with other partners, mainly local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in 49% of the projects. The other partners are local churches (16%), international NGO’s (13%), and the Congolese government, as well as the agencies of the United Nations account for 22%.

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