Four Portraits of Displaced Persons Living In Camps In Democratic Republic Of Congo

While some displaced families return to their areas of origin in DRC, others remain in camps in the hope that the security situation will improve in their village. We meet four people living in Mugunga camp near Goma.

Malki and the benefits of schoolfeeding

Malki is a little boy who knows what he wants. He arrived at Mugunga camp four years ago and has been going to school for the past two years. Though only 13, he looks you in the eye and speaks confidently. Malki may well be a leader some day... perhaps captain of a team football team. In any case, he loves the game - like all his classmates at the school where WFP provides daily hot meals. WFP’s emergency school feeding program has important benefits: it improves nutrition, promotes school attendance, and contributes to literacy. It also plays a role in preventing the recruitment of child soldiers in an area where there are still numerous armed groups.

Malki in front of WFP logo

Food for work and protection in DRC

Mariko is still alert but his eyes suggest great physical and mental exhaustion. The 83-year old arrived in Mugunga camp following clashes in his village. At his age, it is difficult to find the strength to search for firewood and prepare food. He expresses his gratitude to WFP for the fuel briquettes that are manufactured locally by host families. Launched a year ago, this initiative means that women and children no longer have to search for firewood in the bush where they are at risk of attack by militias that still prowl in the area. In exchange for their work, host families making the briquettes receive food rations from WFP.

Being a teenager in a DRC camp: Rachel's story

Rachel is the eldest of a family of four. Like all teenagers, she pays attention to her appearance – her braided hairstyle is particularly original. However, she has a lot of responsibilities for her age because she and her brothers and sisters are orphaned. WFP food assistance in Mugunga, as elsewhere in DRC, targets the most vulnerable…Rachel among them. She is the family member who prepares daily meals of beans, peas and sometimes maize. If she has a little money, she will get maize ground at a nearby mill in order to make a paste that everyone loves called fufu. Otherwise she simply cooks the grains with the beans on an open fire.

Rachel amiling, close up

The importance of nutrition for baby Espoir

At the health centre in Mugunga camp, we see Mapendo coming in her multi-colored wrap with her baby tied on her back in a piece of equally colorful fabric. She introduces us to her nine-month old son, Espoir. Shortly after his birth, Mapendo fell ill. She could no longer breastfeed her baby. The community grapevine led her to the health centre which WFP supports with special nutrition products designed to treat malnutrition among pregnant and nursing mothers as well as among young children. Mapendo was provided with special fortified, blended food so she could regain her strength and breastfeed Espoir. She has now fully recovered and her baby is getting stronger on the ready-to-eat, enriched peanut paste which he receives. However, Mapendo is concerned that although Espoir will still receive assistance, funding shortfalls for WFP programmes mean that she herself will no longer receive food and she is worried about how she is going to manage.

Mapendo holding her baby