A Cohesive Vision for the Future

Post a Comment » Written on February 20th, 2013     
Filed under: Ground Update, Missionary Update, News & Updates

Written by Christine Buettgen, short-term missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Every morning at the World Vision (WV) office we start our day with singing, devotionals, and a time to share prayer requests and check in on work that concerns the office as a whole. Often reports include updates on registered children who are sick or have had accidents and are in the hospital.

Last week, the news was particularly somber. In a neighborhood outside the city, it was reported that one of World Vision’s registered children, an 8 year old girl had been sexually abused by a man in the community.

All of us at the office were horrified at the news and immediate action was taken to follow up and support the victim and her family in this time of crisis. WV made certain the police had been contacted, lawyers called, and justice served in order to protect this child and the rest of the youth in the neighborhood.

As I processed this information along with the rest of the staff, this question was posed: What is World Vision’s role addressing these crises? For many on staff, they view the registered children as their own, and feel that it is the organization’s responsibility to look after these children like they would any person in their family. If the child is sick, make sure they get to the hospital. If the child is malnourished, encourage parents to vary their diet. If the child isn’t going to school, make sure fees are paid and uniforms are purchased to get that child back in class. If a child is abused, keep them away and safe from their abuser and provide necessary after-care.

The ideal and reality are at times disparate. World Vision Gemena has over 12,000 children registered, and over 3,000 have thus far been sponsored. There are already hundreds of pressing needs reported, and it simply is not feasible to think that the World Vision staff of 25 people can meet these demands on their own.

Mother with children.

This past month, the leadership at the Gemena office have been discussing how World Vision can support the needs of these children in a way that is sustainable; not setting up community expectations that cannot be followed through for the long term. The World Vision volunteers have been named the first point of contact with communities and individual families. If the volunteers cannot provide the support needed, they report to the churches, one of the three partner organizations who will advocate for the children. World Vision can’t provide support on its own, nor should it. Including all stakeholders and partners as a part of addressing children’s needs is essential to moving towards a cohesive vision for the future well-being of Gemena and its youth.

The sponsored child’s perpetrator was caught and imprisoned and is now awaiting trial. Please pray for this 8 year old girl, and pray for the countless other non-registered children who suffer similar abuse, but their stories are never heard.

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