Compassion for Children in Distress is the official name of the Butembo based organization led by Mama Dorcas Mbambu.  It has formal Congo charity status and government approvals.  Previously posts have mentioned the courage and dedication of Mama Dorcas who leads this organization.  Herself an orphan and unable to have children, she has committed herself in a remarkable way to the support of hundreds (thousands?) of the neediest on Earth: orphans in eastern Congo.  Butembo is a major commercial city north of Goma but south of Beni and Bunia.

Today there are 463 primary school children and 61 high school children at their school which is named Muti wa Nzuki (Tree of Mizuki according to Google Translate).  There are 18 teachers, all of whom endure months at a time without their pay.

Lining up to meet us at Muti wa Nzuki School for Orphans Dec 2011

Lining up to meet us at the Muti wa Nzuki School for Orphans Dec 2011

Older students at Muti wa Nzuki School for Orphans

Older students at the Muti wa Nzuki School for Orphans

Dorcas writes to me that of the orphans currently in the school (as they will accept others), 52 are orphans for reasons directly related to the war, 33 due to HIV/AIDS and 30 due to other diseases and accidents.

Congolese orphans being lined up to meet us

Younger Congolese orphans being lined up to meet us

She has a vision.  This is her 5 year plan:

We refer to the five-year plan of 2012-2015 , we have a compelling challenges us to:
– Daily food for orphans
– Build classrooms for the high school already operational
– Build the kitchen and refectory (i.e. dining area) for orphans
– Equipping the refectory after construction
– To provide orphans necessary materials for their leisure.

Dorcas lists her sources of income (via Google Translate):

Our financial support comes monthly contribution of the founding members, community support, and self-financing as a school, clinic, dressmaking workshop, theater, and concert sketch made ​​by the evangelization of orphans.

I appreciate how that could be written for a Canadian Parent/Teacher organization with the same words, yet the Congo context is so different.  Founding members are people without money like her.  Community support is primarily from impoverished local parents grateful for any education at all for their children.  We were impressed when we saw firsthand the efforts to train young people in an employable skill, sewing.  Net proceeds from selling their clothing are sent to the school.

Butembo students learning to sew

Butembo students learning to sew

Neither CSCODI nor the local Anglican church has not been able to provide support recently.  I recently contacted senior Anglicans in Canada, asking if charitable funds could be donated in Canada but forwarded to the North Kivu diocese. They explained that the Anglicans have no means to transfer funds to Congo as the Canada Revenue Agency has made such transfers and tax receipting all but impossible.  When you consider the extent of NGO operations in nearby Rwanda and Uganda, this policy difference explains a substantial difference in the lower economic activity in Congo.

Dorcas notes: NB : We rely on the generosity of anyone motivated by a humanitarian and philanthropic spirit to come to our partner.

I would be honoured to forward any funds that you may wish to send me directly on to Dorcas (via Western Union).