UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo - Pour les Medias - UNICEF DRC thanks South Korean government for supporting children in North Kivu

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UNICEF DRC thanks South Korean government for supporting children in North Kivu

© Unicef / DRC
The south Korean Embassy, Mr Sang Woo Lim visited Unicef projects in Nord-Kivu

Goma, 15 October 2009 – To survey the situation for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, South Korea’s Counsellor to DRC for the South Korean Embassy, Mr. Sang Woo Lim, visited UNICEF projects around provincial capital of Goma and noted the urgency of interventions to protect displaced children, sexually abused children and children formerly associated with armed groups. The South Korean government has given $200,000 to UNICEF for the implementation of 10 Child-Friendly Spaces for roughly 30,000 displaced children.
Counsellor Lim was shocked by the conditions for families in Mugunga 3 displaced-person camp, where 500 children who still cannot return to their home communities because of either prolonged insecurity or extreme vulnerability play and learn in a Child-Friendly Space run by UNICEF partner AVSI. “It’s a very hard life here, I can see that,” said Counsellor Lim while inside the camp. “But with our funding, I can see we have done something for the children, who are the most vulnerable victims of this situation –- they are getting access to an education and do normal things here in the Space which children in other parts of the world do.” He indicated that the South Korean government will continue to support children’s programs and that he hopes to increase funding so that other types of children’s projects can also benefit.

Following the visit to Mugunga 3, Counsellor Lim visited Alpha Ujuvi, a UNICEF-funded boarding and counselling centre for girls who have been exposed to sexual exploitation and other protection problems. The 60 girls living there greeted the visitor with song. They sleep in the centre and go outside for school during the day, while social workers visit their families to build the capacity of parents to protect their daughters from sexual exploitation, with the end objective of placing girls back with family members.
Despite their traumatic experiences, Counsellor Lim noticed expressions of hope and recovery. “It relieved me,” he said. “Such a program is critical. The Staff at the centre have clearly tried hard to teach the girls that life can and will get better.”
Counsellor Lim’s last Goma visit was to CAJED, a transit and orientation centre for children who’ve been released from armed groups. Following the rapid integration of former rebel groups into the Congolese armed forces, thousands of children have been released from armed groups in 2009, with 1035 boys and 29 girls staying in CAJED for rehabilitation before being reunified with their families and reinserted into civilian life. There they receive morale support, medical care, scholastic lessons, music and art instruction, as well as playing sports.
UNICEF thanks the South Korean government for their support and attention to the needs of vulnerable children in eastern Congo. Sustained attention to the reintegration of vulnerable children into their communities is necessary to ensure the long term recovery of the region.



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