Ngala stares silently with wide, worried eyes. While I speak to her mom, she never makes a sound and barely moves.
Most four-year-old’s run around with boundless energy, but Ngala simply nuzzles into her mom’s comforting arms. Severely malnourished, she is one of 800,000 children in desperate need of nutrition assistance in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Kasais provinces.
A family in crisis
Ngala’s father was decapitated by militias last summer, leaving her mum Antoinette to flee with her six children. The family traveled by foot to a village where her relatives lived, in Kasai Central province. With 1.84 million people across the country newly displaced in 2018, Antoinette’s family is one of many whose resilient spirit has been tested in this challenging context.
“We fled last July after the troubles with the Kamuina Nsapu [militias],” Antoinette says softly. “We came without anything, without even a change of clothes.”
Antoinette’s relatives have helped her construct a small home for her family, but with no land of her own, she’s struggling to make a living. Ngala is too young to go to school, and none of her five older siblings are studying either.
The family eats just once a day, and sometimes once every other day. They subsist on the cassava Antoinette buys with the small amounts of money she manages to make doing chores and tending other people’s crops.
Head nurse Willy checks Ngala for malnutrition while the other nurse looks on.
A new concern: ebola
The struggle for food is Antoinette’s primary concern right now but an equally worrying concern is the deadly outbreak of ebola that is affecting her country. As of July 18th
, the outbreak in the DRC is the second largest ever, with over 2,500 cases and more 1,600 deaths. To combat this growing threat, World Vision has been training pastors, imams, and community health workers to help prevent the spread of Ebola. As trusted members of their community, faith leaders are among the best placed to break the chain of transmission.
Support through the hunger crisis
Through your support for Crisis Child Partners, World Vision and World Food Programme are working together in Ngala’s community and 96 health centres across the Kasais to fight malnutrition. This includes the provision of nutritional supplements and basic food supplies for children and adults.
The energy to play each day.
The spark of laughter.
The freedom for a mother to worry no longer.
The truth is that it is an uphill battle for Antionette and her children to recover these basic comforts. But the resilience of the family to start over again, along with continued support, offers hope for the future.
Antionette and her six children are struggling in their new village to make ends meet.