The children of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are suffering. Their lives profoundly changed due to a deadly mix of conflict, poverty, food shortages and COVID-19.
Life for the vulnerable is harsh. Children lack access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and many are exposed to abuse such as child labour and neglect. Sadly, as families see their income drop, more children will be forced to work. Children like 12-year-old Marie*.
Marie found herself with limited choices, already vulnerable to hunger, early marriage and child labour, she could no longer attend school or play freely with her friends because of the pandemic. Like many families, Marie’s parents resorted to sending their daughter out to work at the local community market to help feed her hungry family, as they simply didn’t have enough to eat.
"The money I earn from selling these chikwangues (traditional bread) is used to buy food for the family and to pay our rent … My need is to be supported in ways that help us meet our food needs, so that I no longer sell chikwangues," shared Marie.
*Name changed to protect identity.