This is Philomena.
She lives with her children on the outskirts of Beni, DRC. Philomena became a single parent when her husband was killed in a rebel attack three years ago.
She and her husband led a simple life as farmers, along with their grown children, subsisting on the food they produced on their land. When war again started returning to the area, Philomena discussed the available options with her children – stay in the village or flee to the city. How could they leave when their entire livelihood depended on their crops?
One evening, they saw rebels approaching from a distance with torches in hand. Philomena hid in the bushes while her son and daughter-in-law went back to look for their children who were sleeping in their nearby home.
While she waited in the tall grass and trees, Philomena heard rebels approaching her children on the road.
“I heard everything.”
Her son and his wife begged for their lives. She heard the blows of the machete landing repeatedly. Then silence.
She couldn’t move a muscle. It felt like all the air had been sucked out of her. It sounded like the soldiers had left, and though the weight of what happened pinned her to the ground, she knew she had to get up and look for her grandchildren. Were they still alive? Were they OK? Did they hear the commotion and run for safety?
When she reached the house, the two young children were still sleeping. She woke them up, and ran with them back to the jungle to once again hide, too afraid to do anything else.
The next morning, government soldiers arrived and took Philomena and her grandbabies to the city. She knew from that point on she would be their caretaker. They were the only family she had left.
In Eastern Congo, schools not only provide basic reading and writing, “but in the short-term it provides them with the stability and structure required to cope with the trauma they have experienced.” (Jo Bourne, UNICEF Chief of Education)
In areas where war has decimated entire villages, we can no longer wait. We MUST continue to build schools and see education opportunities made available in communities affected by war.
Join us today. Give, share, or forward the message to bring Education Now to war-torn villages in Eastern Congo. Build Schools. Change lives.
BUILD SCHOOL 7