Since January of 2011, Invisible Children has been working diligently with its partners to establish the very first rehabilitation center in DR Congo focused on LRA-affected youth. With thousands of kids facing trauma at the hands of the LRA over the the past 4 years in DR Congo, the need for highly-specialized care has been cited by groups like the UN and the World Bank, but Invisible Children was compelled to assist in the development of such a center especially after interactions with a local partner, Commision Diocesaine Justice et Paix (CDJP), a local civil society group whose members and leaders have been affected by the LRA. As the center prepares for its launch, the final touches are being put on buildings and recently local leaders appropriately named it Center Elikya, meaning “hope” in Lingala, the official language of DR Congo.
Construction is now in its final phase. In October 2011, the main building block was completed allowing our partners CDJP and Sponsoring Children, a Belgian NGO, to begin counseling traumatized children from the local Dungu area and to complete preparation for a full-scale opening this summer. ELIKYA 2012, if you will. The center will be able to accommodate 150 children and employ approximately 30 staff members.
Invisible Children’s construction expertise in Uganda, established by our Schools for Schools program, put us in a unique position to turn a dilapidated building and property into a high-quality center with local labor and materials. Invisible Children Engineering Assistant David Tumisiimwe and Education Programs Director Patrick Munduga supervised the construction of the high-quality building, utilizing local labor, many of whom are displaced by LRA violence in Dungu.
We’ll keep you updated as the building nears completion and the center’s staff begins to work with traumatized children from across northeastern DR Congo.