With your support Foundation 64 is working to raise money to rehabilitate former child soldiers in the Goma region of Northern Congo. These children are the victims of exploitation, war and violence that no child should ever have to endure. The Aprojed Project in collaboration with SOS Enfants France provides structure, stability and the opportunity to learn a skilled trade to former child soldiers displaced or orphaned by war. The participants are given hammers, saws and other necessary tools to learn to become professional woodworkers within six months to a year. The project runs from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon, 6 days a week and not only is food provided but allocations are given to the families housing the children as well. The project is fundamentally community based as the participants learn their trade by fixing and creating infrastructure such as chairs and tables for the community. This not only empowers the children but also helps to combat the stigma associated with child soldiers and help with successful reintegration into their communities after the programs completion. The Aprojed project also offers important therapeutic resources as the founders of the center and the teachers are themselves former child soldiers and the children get to work alongside their peers who also escaped civil war, in a safe and structured environment. Upon the projects completion the goal is for the children to return to their communities with employable skills, however there exists also the opportunity to pursue a skills based higher education.
The Aprojed project currently has 36 participants, with the aim being to recruit 40-60 more children. The funds raised will go towards:
- Expansion of the current facility
- Equipment (tools, uniforms etc.)
- Toolkits for the children to keep after graduation
- Raw materials
- Labour costs
- Outreach programs
Looking forward the Aprojed project is working to expand throughout the Congo and set up similar centers in neighbouring villages. These centers seek to be completely self-sustainable once established as well as community run and maintained. The project is also looking to manufacture and sell wooden items to further support the project. Your one time donation can help the Aprojed project reach escaped child soldiers, a critically at-risk part of the population and give them the skills necessary to build the future they deserve.