Uvira, 18 June 2012 – On 16 June 2012, in Uvira territory, Sud Kivu, one thousand orphaned children celebrated the Day of the African child. The celebrations took place at the Usalama Institute in Sange, Ruzizi plain. Choosing the city of Sange to mark this day was not random. Indeed, in July 2010, a fire caused considerable property damage and casualties. Many of the children who were present are actually survivors and the community will long remember this tragedy.
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) provided support to the NGO which organized this event, the Uvira Centre for the Support of Youth in Rural Development (CEJEDER).
The star children of that day had come from seven primary schools of Sange. They participated to a parade that started in the Usalama Institute and ended at the exact location where the fire took place, thus marking the symbolism of this sad incident. There, we can still see remnants from the fire, including a burnt off tanker. About a hundred children died along with their parents. Among the survivors, about 320 children are now orphaned.
In a speech read by one of their representatives, the children regretted that the numerous promises made have not been followed-up, including the provision of health care and education allowance for those who are still suffering from the consequences of this accident.
The children received some school materials from CEJEDER. Another highlight of the day was football games opposing girls and boys.
Fiston Ngoma/ MONUSCO