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#UpRooted Stories

Spotlight: Democratic Republic of Congo

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Odia, 17, pictured above was once was in the militia. She is now living in a reintegration centre where she sought refuge from soldiers who came to her village looking for women involved in the militia. Odia’s parents have been dead for a long time. She used to live with her aunt who was against her join the militia.

“The militia recruiters promised that after the war, people from the militia would build us houses, bring us education and find us work”. Her family was poor and because of their circumstances, she left school at age 12 in hopes for a better life. Now that she is out of the militia, she hopes to one day become a doctor, “so I can help my family”.

Albertine, 16, is now living in a reintegration group for children after being associated in an armed group. Her future aspirations include wanting to become a nun, where “If I can’t go to the convent, then I would like to do sewing. Here at the centre we learn alphabetisation, and basic education. We play football and basketball in our free time. I am happy with the advice I receive here. And with the food we eat too. We learn here to be polite, to respect each other and also how to protect and raise our future children."

"War for me, is lack of peace. It is the lack of opportunity and leadership, creating poverty. If we had opportunities, people would not have been encouraged to join the movement against the state and fight all the state’s symbols.”

 

Food for thought: Think about where you are now. What challenges did you encounter to get to where you are today? 

Selin Ozturk is originally from Toronto, Canada. She has her bachelors degree from George Washington University in Political Science. She will be concluding her Masters degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies in November 2019. Selin has focused her studies and work around refugees, women and children’s issues.

This page was designed & written by Selin Ozturk & Codie Drake

Codie Drake is originally from Chicago. She has a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from Kentucky Westleyan College . She will be concluding her Masters degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies in November 2019.