Family reunion after two-week-apart
UNICEF helps reunite children in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with their families.
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Furaha and Isaac were home alone when fighting broke out in late 2022 in their village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "I was working with my husband in the fields outside the village when the fighting started," recalls Nirere, the mother of the two children. Twelve-year-old Furaha walked nearly 60 kilometers with her three-year-old brother to escape the violence.
"They had to fend for themselves, and I was desperately worried that I wouldn't see them again," says Nirere. For most of the journey, Furaha had to carry little Isaac, who suffers minor disabilities. Upon arrival at a site for displaced people in Goma, the children alerted CAJED staff, a UNICEF partner organization, that they had been separated from their parents.
Furaha and Isaac were temporarily taken in by a host family and photos of them were displayed alongside images of all the separated children identified in nearby sites. "I recognized the pictures of my children, I was overwhelmed with joy because I thought they were dead and I would never see them again," Nirere says.
After two weeks of separation, Furaha and Isaac were reunited with their parents. UNICEF and its partners have identified more than 2,000 unaccompanied and separated children since March 2022, of whom more than 1,700 have been reunited. Over 7,600 children affected by the crisis received psychosocial care.
Until they can return to their village, Nirere and her children have taken refuge in a makeshift shelter. "I dream that my daughter will be a doctor, but the war must end for that to happen," Nirere says. UNICEF and its partners continue to assist displaced families with water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, health, education, non-food item kits and nutrition, in coordination with other humanitarian actors.