Making ends meet – somehow…

Somehow making ends meet is anything but easy due to the special situation in Congo. The many and above all long-lasting crises, often repeated displacement and above all the acute poverty leave many families no choice: they send their children out to earn a few pennies to provide for their families. And so they constantly catch your eye, the children selling small goods like fruit, eggs or peanuts. Some of them are out on the streets until late at night.

Many children tell us that they do this either because they have nothing to eat at home, because they are orphans and therefore on their own, or to pay their school fees, or because some parents do not care about them. In addition to their difficult fate, they are repeatedly victims of accidents or violent crimes.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child rightly ascribes not only the fundamental human rights to all children, but also explicitly names their special need for protection and their very own needs and interests. For example, the right to leisure time, the right to education and also the right to protection from violence.

Un enfant sur la route à Kamituga Sud - Kivu portant banane sur sa tête pour vente
Very common: a little boy sells bananas

The Congolese constitution has also explicitly enshrined these children’s rights. Articles 50-56 of the Law for the Protection of Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo make both parents and the Congolese state responsible for granting children these basic rights.

In Kamituga, there is no prohibition in this regard. And so we witness many children running around on the streets with small goods. The municipality let it happen. Yet the chances for a better future, especially for this region, clearly correlate with the number of children going to school.