Merry-Valentine Nyeligudi is the monitoring and evaluation coordinator in the Samaritan’s Purse Democratic Republic of Congo office. She works with all the projects to monitor their progress and impact and is in charge of a children’s evangelical outreach program
Since 2008, the northern Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered from attacks by armed groups suspected to be the Lord’s Resistance Army. Many children have either been kidnapped or killed by the LRA, causing psychosocial trauma and constant fear among the youth. Several organizations have been present in Faradje Territory delivering humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and vulnerable families. However, most projects are concerned with providing emergency assistance and with rebuilding the infrastructure.
Samaritan’s Purse created a program called Child Friendly Spaces for Children and Volunteers, which works to empower the local church to create an evangelical outreach to children and support the psychosocial health of them. Leader volunteers are trained in a curriculum aimed at teaching the basics of the Gospel, activities for children, and other basic health topics. This will ultimately transform the community to be safer and more developed for the future.
Children from different churches are coming together to have fun playing, singing, and, above all, receiving the Good News. Through these meetings, children are learning to love each other as brothers and sisters. All the unhappiness, anger, egocentrism, and low self-esteem that were in them are slowly disappearing, and they are happy and filled with hope for their lives.
We’re incorporating the children in the Word of God so that they may feel the love of God in their lives. Some of the children have testified that since they started participating in these activities, they have learned to obey their parents.
One boy said that since he started attending our programs, he asked God to give him intelligence and wisdom like King Solomon and this is happening! Now he can memorize Bible verses, and he is passing his exams with flying colors.
The program we are offering is not only transforming the lives of the program beneficiaries, but it is also affecting the whole community.