Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — In the heart of the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) beats the rhythm of Kinshasa. More
than 7 million people call it home, but it also plays host to roughly 20,000
Every Child Ministries notes that their families have
accused the vast majority of these street kids of being witches. As a result, they were either abandoned or
forcibly evicted from the shelter of family and home.
Other times, it's either the poverty or abuse in the home
that drives the children away to join street children gangs.
Once on the streets, they suffer widespread
discrimination and violence by average citizens. According to the United Nations' Children
Fund, the wide perception is that the kids are involved in petty crime, begging,
For the past several years,
ECM has been ministering to street children, primarily boys, around a
market area across from the Teachers' Training University. A regular Fellowship for Street Children with Bible teaching and worship services has been established. ECM has been helping these boys with two meals a week.
Every Child Ministries' Lorella Rouster says their street
kids have been developing skits to talk about what it's really like to live on
the streets. The team performs their
skits at nearby local churches within walking distance for both safety and
practical reasons (no vehicle).
An interesting pattern emerged. Rouster says nearly every time the team
performed, there was a family in the church with a child living on the
streets. "God uses those skits to
touch their hearts. Then, as a result, those parents end up going out,
searching for their kids to persuade them to come home."
As the pattern repeated itself, Rouster decided it was time to
formalize it into a program called Restore a Family. "In the beginning, it was just some
skits the kids did. We have seen how effective it's been, so we're making it
into a program and enabling our experienced street workers to do more follow-up
with the families."
Already, the program is expanding. Rouster says they want to take the program to
other churches throughout Kinshasa. Why? "Whenever families can
be restored, that's a plus for the spread of the Gospel, for the church, and
for society as a whole."
ECM is raising funds now for a vehicle that will take the
teams to other churches in Kinshasa. There are more details about ECM's street kids program here.