Many factors have been contributing to Kamina’s starvation crisis. Kamina, the capital of the new Haut-Lomami province, is a city of about 300,000 people. It is an important crossroads and railway intersection, where three main lines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) railway run from Kamina to the north, west, and south-east. The city’s geographical location and accessibility by rail and road have attracted many people fleeing conflict in other regions.
Additionally, because of unending civil war and spillover from conflicts in neighboring countries, the economic structure in the DRC has been severely impaired. There are limited private and public sector jobs, and those with jobs often work for less than a living wage. This leaves a staggering 80 percent of people unemployed. Finally, opportunities for subsistence existence are limited by damaged infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems.
Last Christmas, CORI aimed to target the thousands of children impacted by the widespread starvation across Kamina. The organization purchased beef, beans, rice, vegetables and sweet potatoes. With the help of 150 volunteers, CORI prepared meals for over 5,000 poor and orphaned children. The feeding continued from Christmas to New Year. No child was turned away.
In addition to being fed a hearty meal, children were shown intentional love, care, and respect by our volunteers, who were trained to make personal connections with the children. Though our programs provide food for hundreds of people monthly, such as the children in our Child Sponsorship Program and their foster families, we find ourselves challenged to think bigger. Ultimately, the children who came to be fed have inspired us to plan creatively about how we might feed them on a more consistent basis, and to continue being a part of efforts to thwart starvation.
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