Street Children in the Republic of the Congo

Street Children in the Republic of the Congo

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The number of children living on the street in the Republic of the Congo has increased significantly in recent years. Child-protection network REIPER, an Apprentis d’Auteuil partner, is mobilising on the ground. Let’s hear from Joseph Likibi, the network’s national coordinator.

What is REIPER?

Joseph Likibi : It is a group of 21 associations, founded in 2003 in the Republic of the Congo. Its goal is to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable children who have been abandoned by their families and sometimes live on the street. It is based in Brazzaville and Point-Noire.

What is the extent of this phenomenon of marginalised children?

JL : We estimate that there are 1,900 street children regularly helped by specialist organisations. But professionals think that more than 1,900 children live away from their families and are subject to severe social exclusion. They would escape any public monitoring or support mechanisms.

What is the Apprentis d’Auteuil partnership about?

JL : The partnership with the foundation began more than twenty years ago, and has continued ever since. A new milestone was reached in March 2016 with the project ‘Promotion, Respect and Implementation of the Rights of the Child in the Republic of the Congo’. Funded largely by the European Union, over three years, its aim is to promote and guarantee children’s rights, to ensure their protection, and improve the care and support of vulnerable children.  Along with Apprentis d’Auteuil, we carry out actions of prevention and raise awareness with public authorities and society in general, by giving children a voice. Other activities include training educators in e-learning, exchanges of experiences and best practice.

For example?

JL : At the end of October 2016, for example, training in the methodology of social work brought together in Brazzaville around 20 educators from various REIPER organisations. All these professionals work with vulnerable young people and street children. The training, funded by Europe and the French Embassy in Congo, was led by two Apprentis d’Auteuil employees - Marie-Thérèse Gendron (North-West Territorial Director) and Thierry Danos (Director of the Jean Bosco Children’s Home in Le Havre), Carcel Ngangoué, Deputy Action Coordinator and myself.

What was the training about?

JL : The training covered various topics: setting up the young person’s individual file, information confidentiality, the different stages of support observation, training and educating the child on the ‘rules of life’, educational support of the child through follow-up and diligence. So many topics that will enable social workers to learn new skills and knowledge.

 

 

Apprentis d’Auteuil is a deeply committed catholic foundation, recognized as promoting the public interest in France and in more than 50 countries. Thanks to the expertise and experience of the foundation and their partners, Apprentis d’Auteuil have been able to supervise more than 23.000 children in France and almost 20.000 children and families worldwide. Its main goal is to help youth in difficulty by conducting educational projects and to boost their ability to participate in society as full-fledged citizens by promoting training and insertion programs worldwide. In addition to their actions towards helping vulnerable children, Apprentis d’Auteuil and their partners assist struggling parents in their family obligations, with coeducation as the guiding principle. The key purpose is to improve the management of children under their care and to enable them to grow as free and responsible adults. To make a donation for education – Please contact the foundation for underprivileged children Apprentis d’Auteuil.