Democratic Republic of Congo
Thousands of children are unaccompanied and defenceless, and some are deeply disturbed by the violence they have witnessed.
My children and I were strangers, and you welcomed us. I will forever be grateful to you all. And as we see thousands of Canadians doing what you, my sponsors, did for my family, I can only be grateful to all of them as well, and tell the new Syrian refugees that they are in good hands.
In a film that makes such a poignant case about valuing the perspectives of those seldom considered (children in general and children caught in the midst of conflict in particular), it appears to fail at achieving just that -- for Africans.
Today's conflicts are smaller in scale than the world wars on which we normally focus come Remembrance Day. But tragically, so are many of the soldiers. There are some 250,000 child soldiers in the world today, mostly in Africa. Children the age of my school-aged sons are shoved headlong into a hell that's unimaginable for most adults, let alone a child.
With every day that passes, the Nigerian schoolgirls could be moving further into dangerous territory of all kinds. Exploitation like the kinds they may be facing can have intensely disturbing effects on a child's social, emotional cognitive and spiritual well-being -- as well as their long-term development.
As we prepare for the holiday season, many of us are thinking about how we can be responsible consumers. The conflict in the Congo is fuelled and funded by minerals -- gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum. Too often, these minerals end up in our cellphones, computers, and jewellery. Just as people can now give ethical diamonds, we should be able to give electronics and jewellery in good conscience.
Only six months had passed since thousands of families were forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo. Families don't know when or how they'll be able to go home. But one thing is certain: The World Vision DRC staff is now equipped to do the best job possible for those in need.
I am incredibly lucky to be interning at a Rwandan radio station as a reporter and newsreader. But a lot of the time I find things don't work out quite the way they did in Canada. I have to remind myself to relax on an almost hourly basis. In Canada, I was so used to planning everything, controlling everything, always being prepared. Here in Rwanda, that approach doesn't always fly, and for a while, I felt like I was getting nowhere, until...
In the Congo, a small town called Bunagana is falling to rebel troops. This led to 600 government soldiers and thousands of refugees fleeing into Uganda. What does this have to do with Canada? Everything. The DRC is the stage of a violent and bloody conflict that is being fueled by a rush for resource exploitation. The conflict may seem far away but Canada is right in the heart of it all.
Where was Canada while voting racked up a death toll in Congo, a country that's inherited billions in foreign aid dollars? We don't know for certain that sending 60 or 600 Canadians would have saved lives, stopped ballot stuffing or police brutality. But it couldn't have hurt.