Dear Father Juan,
I’m in Europe these days. I take the opportunity to send you the report of the past school year and the beginning of the new one.
As promised, I went to Dungu to try to clarify many things. Because of the level of partners we collaborate with, it wasn’t easy. We start first to organise the list of the children. Many have gone back to their village, other disappear, other became pregnant, other died, … Now we have 22 children left from the first group. To them, we add one who is albino, Yvette Kahindo. Some other albinos can be added. You know, albinos are very discriminated. They are seen as sorcerers and often rejected by the family. If you don’t mind, we can insert them in the list.
The situation of the long war of Congo, since 1996, has consequences even in Kinshasa which didn’t directly experience it. Many families came because it was the only place more or less safe. Coming from very far, by foot or by small boat, those families generally have hard time in the big city. They have left their land of origin and all the activities – small trading or agriculture – which were helping them to survive. They live in a new situation. They came with children and most of them have grown. Those families have problem to educate and to take care of them. Many of them start to work early. In fact, the rate of children working is very high in Congo – around 8.000.000 children. In this situation, the girls are very in danger. They can start prostitution.
We found, in Kinshasa, some of this situation. As we had some money left from the last amount sent, we thought to help some of those girls with. The help consists in making them study and offering some health care if necessary – one is diabetic and another one suffered of tuberculosis. It was really a need and we couldn’t do anything from the Vicariate. I want to know what you think about because I should have asked you before taking that decision. But, as I said, it was really a need and it’s difficult not to do anything.
As you can see from the account, we still have 500$. The expenses in the next days are the living and the medicines of Francine. In January, there will be the second rate of this year.
In the beginning of the new year, at Dungu, we bought what the children wanted to start. I send you some photos too.
I thank you for all you’re doing.
Something New for Easter | Clothing Drive
Are you going to be moving? Spring Cleaning? Replacing old clothes with new ones for Easter or simply have a closet full of clothes you don’t wear? Are you looking for a place to donate used clothes in Prague? For the next three weeks, the Religious Education program at St. Tomas will be hosting a Clothing Drive to benefit the homeless and kids in need in Prague. From Sunday March 3rd, til Sunday March 17th, we will be collecting new and used clothes, clean and in good condition (gently used). The clothes will be given directly to the St. Tomas clothing charity and children’s clothes will go to orphanages and families in need (see Fr. Juan for details). Please find collection bins in the courtyard of the Monastery under the English Community’s notice board on Sunday mornings. We welcome new and used children’s clothes, but there is a special need for adult clothing. This would be a great project to get your office, club, or school group involved in as well! Please contact Mary Beth Hlavsa at +420 724 485 930 (in English) or email@example.com for details or to arrange possible donation pickups at times other than Sunday morning (for example from schools or companies).