Imprisoned in poverty
The small Claude and his mother, Jana, are relieved that the infirmary that was ravaged by the rebels is now up and running again. Claude, who had suffered from chronic conjunctivitis, is almost entirely healthy again because of the care he was given here and is now relaxing with his mother after receiving a polio-tetanus vaccination. Such a vaccination saves many lives here in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where infectious diseases can spread rapidly due to the steady flow of refugees. Also, the little sister, whom they await, will receive professional medical support from the moment of birth. In the midst of one of the most violent conflicts in the northeastern region of the DR Congo, such care is not commonplace. Many young mothers and their babies die before or after the child’s birth, because the journey to the nearest hospital often takes several days.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Albert K. Baliesima, who, as a health expert and member of Parliament, works for the alleviation of the humanitarian need in the province still wracked with violence and the distress of thousands, several of the original seven rebel-ravaged Health Centers have opened again and five new centers are being built. The residents in the nearby towns are erecting the walls and will pay for the mattresses for the centers’ beds with the proceeds from the OJC-Christmas Project. Part of the money will be used to buy medications and vaccines and for the training of midwives and nursing staff. Another project that is financially supported by the OJC-Christmas Project is the Reconciliation- and Peace Work, run by a team of pastors and teachers.The processing of traumatic experiences and cooperative discussions between enemies are prerequisites to the return to normalcy in eastern DR Congo. In this large region, many mothers and their children like Jana, Claude, and the unborn child, are dependent on our gestures of solidarity. Help them, so that they can receive the essential support they need and can begin to hope again.