Fighting, and military conflict in Congo have prevented hundreds of thousands of children from attending school. According to Refugee Aid, today, a total of 7.4 million children in Congo are not attending school.
Over 850,000 children have fled the escalation of the fighting in the Kasai region in the past year, the organisation reported on Monday.
Over 900 schools have been destroyed. Refugee Aid is asking international donors to prioritise the provision of education in emergency relief efforts, and pointed out that schooling can prevent children from joining armed militias.
‘Donors should acknowledge that education and schooling are also a tool for protection,’ said Celestin Kamori, Co-ordinator for the Refugee Education Program in Congo.
Congo already had a weak school system, and the large Central African country, which has been in almost permanent conflict since the first Portuguese arrivals in the 16th Century, and subsequent colonial power by Leopold of Belgium in the 19th Century, and continuing wars with covert supply of weaponry and finance by the USA in the the late 20th Century, now risks a population of people who will be deprived of an education for a whole generation.
Many schools that have been kept open despite the conflict are being used as temporary shelters for internally displaced refugees.
It is time for the international community, responsible originally for so many of Congo’s problems, and Congolese political leaders, to sit down at a negotiating table and hammer out a roadmap for the country’s future, for the sake of its children.
Perhaps by creating a future for them, disaster can be avoided elsewhere by extension. That is really the barometer of whether the international political community actually wants to avoid disaster or not.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today