Seeing firsthand the limited rehabilitation services available to children who have experienced extreme trauma as a result of LRA violence and abduction, Invisible Children and our partners from the Commision Diocesaine Justice et Paix (CDJP) and Sponsoring Children Uganda have opened the very first rehabilitation center in DR Congo focused on LRA-affected youth. We’ve been working diligently since January of 2011 on its construction and are now pleased to announce that Centre Elikya is complete.

Territorial Administrator of Dungu giving his blessing from the community and declaring the center officially open. Abbe Benoit Kinalegu (Director of CDJP) is on the right.

The Centre (appropriately named Centre Elikya, meaning “hope” in Lingala) is equipped with psychosocial support professionals and has been counseling traumatized children from the local Dungu area since October 2011, even while construction has been under way. Now that it has officially opened its doors, the program and facilities are equipped to serve 150 children at any given time.

The opening of Centre Elikya

Tree planting to mark Centre Elikya's opening, symbolizing the life and growth to come.

Tree planting to mark Centre Elikya’s opening, symbolizing the life and growth to come.

Centre Elikya

The program is designed to serve children for six months before they are reunited with their families. The center’s activities focus on preparing children for successful reintegration into society by seeking to restore their mental health, equipping children to return to school, or, if beyond school age, learning a marketable skill to be used in the workplace. For all participants, a main portion of the activities focuses on teaching children to cope with and understand their trauma.

Centre Elikya

Youth currently enrolled at the Centre who are all overcoming trauma caused by the extreme violence of the LRA.

Because of the logistical and security challenges of the region, the program is centered in Dungu town and operates within the current protection strategy of organizations operating in northeastern DR Congo.

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The below video was made in January 2011 to launch the rehabilitation project. Learn more about Centre Elikya in its entirety [HERE].

We thank our TRI members for their sustained dedication to our mission and their monthly donations that make programs like Centre Elikya possible.