ISSN 1710-6931 April 22, 2011 Issue 164

A Small but Big Difference — Eye to Eye Child Care

War, poverty, sexually transmitted disease and child abuse. These are only a few of the problems plaguing Uvira — a city set in the mid-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In a land where a fair and healthy justice system is still beyond grasp, and where social construction and welfare are often bypassed in the flurry of political and economical turmoil, it is without a doubt that its children are the most in need of help and assistance.

And that is what Eye to Eye Child Care (EECC) is there for.

Founded in year 2006 by Oscar Benjamin, the EECC is a story of childhood vision being realized through sheer determination and courage. As a community-based child welfare organization, the EECC helps children in Uvira and Fizi in the DRC get off the streets, out of the slums and, most important, into school.

With the mission of providing care and counselling to affected children, the EECC is a safe haven where they can leave behind the tragedy of their lives and experience some semblance of normalcy. The EECC offers food and basic education to the children and is working with the government in mounting campaigns to combat physical and sexual abuse against children and to stop forced labour.

To Oscar Benjamin, the EECC is not a dream-come-true; it is a necessity. "As an Uvirian myself, where would I go? This is my home; these are my young brothers and sisters. I am determined to stay and help them change their lives. There is no simple answer to the complicated grim realities of living in Uvira. I should know. But what I have learnt is that any change — no matter how small, can make a huge difference to the livings of my young brothers and sisters," he says on his facebook page. EECC


Remembering WREN

After a decade of raising awareness and lobbying the governments in Canada on the issues of refugees, the Winnipeg Refugee Education Network (WREN) has formally closed.

Robyn Mossman, one of the founders of WREN, discussed her experiences and spoke about some of her memories with the organization.

bird in front of candle Winnipeg Refugee Education Network
 WREN Logo

In 2000, carrying on their work from Amnesty International, Robyn, her sisters Kate and Linda Mossman, Amanda Aziz, David EisBrenner, Louise Simbandumwe, Hla Win, Jillian Todd and many others, got together to form WREN with one goal in mind: increasing public awareness of refugee issues. The logo of WREN includes a rendering of the Amnesty candle in the background, bearing testimony to the influence of that organization. WREN

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