"I am a mother, and every time I see a vulnerable child, I imagine that he or she could be my child." - Charlotte
Charlotte, a mother of four small children, has opened her home to vulnerable children in Goma, eastern DRC. Working closely with the social workers of the Division of Social Affairs, Charlotte has been a foster mother to lost or abandoned children and children who have experienced violence or are at risk of abuse.
“I found two children lost on the streets of Goma. They had been forced to flee their home due to intensified fighting in their village in Beni. I wanted to help them but did not know how”, Charlotte recalls. “I called the helpline and they advised me to keep them at home while they would seek for assistance and trace their families in North Kivu”.
The outreach team managed to trace the parents and the family was reunited. Ever since, Charlotte’s home has been a recognised temporary foster care family in the district and she has hosted several children.
“Even if I don’t have much to give, I am happy to help the children who need it as much as I can.”
Charlotte is currently caring for a young girl who was recently placed with her after Charlotte met her and another girl on their own at the market. “Every day I would see them alone, sitting on the floor. One day I asked them about their situation, and they told me that they had to run away from their home because of the violent fighting going on in the area. One of the girls was pregnant.” Charlotte’s family took the girls into their care. Thanks to the helpline and outreach team, one of the girls was successfully reunified with her family. Charlotte continues to care for the other girl during her pregnancy whilst the search continues for her parents.
“If we find them we hope that they will accept her and her baby in their home, otherwise she can stay here with us”, Charlotte promises. “I am a mother, and every time I see a vulnerable child, I imagine that he or she could be my child.”
Tukinge Watoto Child Helpline supports unaccompanied children through foster care families in Goma. The helpline is free to call and staff and social workers from the Division of Social Affairs (Ministry of Social Affairs and National Solidarity) offer advice and support to children and adults. Every month the team in Goma answers 1,500 calls on average.
HELP keep the these vital resources available to the children who need it the most - CONTRIBUTE to The Story Campaign.