• courtnetheard

The Secret Life Of An Orphan In DR Congo

We have some wonderful news. A whole week before our fundraiser to send 41 orphans in DR Congo to school was to end, we hit the final goal. With your generosity and your help, we raised $4920 - that's $120 per child to pay for a year's tuition. We are blown away by the selflessness that exists in the atheist community.

The fact is, no nonprofit can accomplish anything without its supporters. While we may have opened the door, it is you who burst through it and made all of this happen. We are only as strong as our support base. Just imagine, if we can positively and permanently change the lives of 41 children in just one month at hundreds of members, imagine what we will be able to do when we have thousands of members!

The more of us there are, the more we accomplish. Every success is all about you. Help us make the next campaign even more successful by joining the growing crowd making a change at IAA. Join here.

The following blog post was going to be used in the last week of our campaign to make one last push to hit our goal. It's from Hank Pellisier, who heads up Humanist Global Charity, the organization that, along with Thaliha Women Initiative, cares for the orphans we were raising money for. Since we have already reached our goal, we are just sharing this blog post with you now out of gratitude. Perhaps it will help us all see how much of an impact what we just did will have on the lives of these children. Here's Hank:

What is daily life for an orphan in the DR Congo? Where thousands of children lose their parents to Ebola, and civil wars? First off, the child is grieving and sad; after watching their Mama and Papa die they are given to resentful relatives, who don't have enough cash to even feed their own children. (DRC per capita income is $453 annually). In their new home, the orphan is treated as a slave, assigned to the most unpleasant tasks and only fed if there are scraps to spare. Orphans are often beaten and sexually abused. Plus, they're frequently deprived of education because guardians don't have or won't pay the school tuition fees. Instead of gaining skills for success in life, orphans are kept home to do menial chores.

Orphans I've met in Africa frequently look 'neglected' - they wear filthy rags, they're emaciated, dirty, with scabies in their hair and scabs on their flesh. Quite often, they can't or won't talk, due to PTSD or depression. I've seen orphans that twitch and shiver; I ask their guardians if they have malaria - they say no. Orphans often have dead, sullen, vacant, sad, or angry expressions. They won't smile. Other children avoid them. I've had orphans take my hand and not let go. They won't talk but they won't let go. It is heart-breaking - they want a parent. Anybody to be kind to them.
The orphans cared for by Thaliha Women Initiative, the humanist collective in Nord Kivu province, DNC, have much better lives than most orphans. Thaliha makes sure they are fed, and they negotiate with local schools to accept the orphans, by promising tuition fees - in the future. The huge number of orphans here, ironically, provides a bit of community to relieve some of the stress and loneliness of being an orphan.
Longterm, of course, what the orphans need is education, so they will not be disadvantaged when they mature. Without schooling, orphans often up as criminals, prostitutes, prisoners, and drug addicts.

What you have done, as supporters of this campaign, is no small thing. Thank you for your selflessness and generosity and your willingness to share. Make no mistake, you have changed the lives of 41 children forever. An extra special thank you to KC and John Gleason for mobilizing their audience to bring us across the finish line. We would also like to thank Hank and the rest of Humanist Global Charity and Thaliha Women Initiative for their extraordinary work they do with orphans in DR Congo.

Now is the time for you to join IAA - you've seen what our members and supporters can do. Just imagine what we can accomplish with even more people behind us. Join now, click here.

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