ISSN 1710-6931 July 13, 2007 Issue 103

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Healing the Wound of War

Together we can heal the wound of war. That's the belief Mr. Bilombele Asukulu, founding Executive Director, New English Center for Hope (NECH), has in his heart and that's the message he would like to spread.

He has been living in Nyarugusu Camp in Tanzania since 1996 after being forced from his home in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Burdened with the tag of a refugee, Bilombele felt that it was important for his people to be educated as a way toward building the peace process.

Consequently, in July 2003, NECH was opened by Bilombele along with some other fellow refugees at the camp.

Initially NECH focused on English and vocational training classes including computer, carpentry, agriculture and livestock breeding as well as seminars on peace and tolerance, and HIV/AIDS.

Over time, activities increased and developed. Through a strong partnership with RESPECT International, NECH has started a Global Letter Exchange Program with non-refugee students. Also, it has initiated a distance learning program for higher education in collaboration with RESPECT University.

In partnership with Working To Empower (WTE), NECH has built a strong team for the HIV/AIDS Education Center and the Resource Center which has its own library. It has also initiated the Emebet Education Program in collaboration with WTE providing assistance to HIV/AIDS orphans and unmarried mothers.

Some of the major challenges for NECH are lack of sufficient resources to continue and extend their activities, lack of internet access and a lack of stability as refugees are always thinking of their homeland.

Bilombele feels that a drop of water in a desert is more than a river in an ocean. So any individual contribution can help and it can bring hope to the hopeless people at the camp.

Ms. Sandrine Cortet coordinates RESPECT activities in French and is in contact with the Nyarugusu refugee community. She helps NECH reach out to others and brings others to NECH.

An exemplary contribution was made to NECH by Joanna Doefer, who is from the United States and is studying to become a teacher. Joanna learnt about NECH from RESPECT e-Zine and RESPECT helped to form a link between the two.

Her mom and a few friends joined in this noble cause and together they sent a donation of $200 USD (about €146.75 EUR and £99.48 GBP) for NECH. According to Joanna's wishes, the donation was used for the school to purchase supplies such as pens, notebooks, pencils and chalk.

Joanna believes in what NECH is trying to accomplish and her love for children inspired her to do this act of compassion. She believes and proves that everyone has the ability to help others.

Such individual contributions go a long way to help organizations like NECH that are working towards achieving social stability and peace through education. The contribution not only worked as a financial help but also brought hope to the unfortunate people at the refugee camp and made them feel loved and cared for.

Bilombele says that gifts of all kinds are welcomed. However, they are looking for ways to build their capacity so as not to continually be dependent on donations and small gifts. In addition, they are also thinking of a way to open a Centre of Coordination in Baraka, DRC, where refugee repatriates can more easily become integrated in a society they left ten years ago.

The contact information for the NECH is:

  • Mr. Bilombele Asukulu
  • Nyarugusu Refugees Camp
  • E3 Cl 11 Pl 09
  • C/O BOC
  • P. O. Box 612 Kigoma, Tanzania
  • E-mail: biloasphilibert@yahoo.com

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