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Evangelical Alliance of Congo



REPORT: EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE OF CONGO SHINES ITS LIGHT IN THE MIDST OF DARKNESS


The presence of a number rebel groups in Congo is almost general knowledge, especially in Eastern Congo, where the fight for natural resources is fierce. Mayi-Mayi, Banyamulenge and M23 are some of the rebel groups that are constantly in the news. M23 is the rebel group in control of Goma and the areas around Vitunga Mountains in the Eastern part of Congo. The Evangelical Alliance of Congo, General Secretary, Rev. Israel Ngaraibo invited AEA to visit these areas and although it is deemed risky, the trip was scheduled for the 9th to 13th October. On our way, we had a brief stop-over in Rwanda and paid a courtesy call to the Evangelical Alliance of Rwanda board members. Afterwards, accompanied by the General Secretary of EAR Rev. Gahungu Bunini, we proceeded by road to Goma.


On the Northern side of Lake Kivu our program involved site visits to various projects initiated or supported by the Evangelical Alliance of Congo. We held a seminar with pastors in the city on how to impact the community they serve. The AEA General Secretary, Rev. Aiah Foday-Khabenje, spoke of the three S’s distinctive in any successful NEF; Structure, Strategy and Service.



Among the projects we visited was an orphanage. Most of the children in the home have been orphaned due to past wars. The orphanage had a school with both primary and secondary levels.


We also visited two rape response centers which EAC partners with. Both centers’ core task is to help the women recover from their ordeal. The women are counseled and equipped with basic skills for living and finally integrated back into the community.



Rape cases in the Congo seem to be widespread with some of the perpetrators including soldiers, close relatives and even neighbours. These attacks take place as the women go fetching for firewood or water. Rape used to be a ‘preserve’ of rebel soldiers, but has developed into a vice that is commonplace and committed by ordinary civilians.



A medical centre supported by EAC caters for members in the community with chronic illnesses. Medical care after the war in Goma is scarce and this facility provides most of its services for free.



Finally we visited Mugunga, an IDP camp with over 50,000 people.


 


These displaced persons are fleeing from what they fear is an imminent war between M23 and President Kabila led government forces. Churches in Eastern Congo constantly take food to, and provide medical care at the camps.


The EAC’s effectiveness on the ground is very encouraging. It covers most of Eastern Congo, with membership up to the capital City of Kinshasa. However, due to the vastness of Congo and persistent conflicts, their reach is somewhat limited. The fellowship was encouraged by the AEA visit since this was the first time an AEA General Secretary has paid them a visit.


As we reflect on EAC shining its light in a dark environment, we urge you to encourage and engage them, for wars tend to isolate people from the outside world.


From: http://aeafrica.org/afroscope/view.htm?id=54

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