Our vision is that the street children of Kinshasa will overcome poverty and oppression, realizing their full potential and purpose.
More than 50,000 children live on the streets of Kinshasa, according to a BBC film team who visited the country. Many of those children have been accused of witchcraft or possession by evil spirits by extremist church authorities. Once accused, the children are forced to abandon their families until the local church can carry out an exorcism that removes the “evil spirit” that “resides” in the child.
To remove the “evil spirit,” or “Kindoki,” children may be regularly beaten, starved or burned in ritualistic practices. Child exorcism is a big business. Parents pay religious leaders so that their children can receive deliverance in the name of God. Many children are denied water or food for days at a time, are physically abused, and forced to sleep in the dirt while subject to exorcism. These children are mistreated and some of them are physically burned. If a child refuses or resists their abuser then he or she is thrown to the streets. By that time many are weak and at risk of death.
Prostitution is everyday life for some of these children, at times as young as 5 years old. Religion for an African is a way of life. There is no distinction between everyday living and religion like it is for Westerners.
Another factor that contributes to the number of street children is extreme poverty. Families in the Democratic Republic of Congo on average live on 30 cents or less a day.
Les Enfants Baobab will aid helpless children by providing a safe place to protect them. In the past it was the elderly people who were accused of witchcraft, but now it has turned to the children. If we do not step up to help these kids and put an end to this systemic abuse there will be even more kids on the streets of Kinshasa.