When we hear or read about the plight of refugees or starving people in South Africa its generally the children that media/social media focus on. But what about the adults who care and support these children, aren’t their stories just as important to be told?
As the Australian representative of CEN: Community Empowerment Network, refugee camp in South Africa I have taken on the task of being their voices to the Western world.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be sharing stories written by adult men & women, who have witnessed violent acts against their family, friends and community. Terrible stories of human injustice yet, these courageous people have turned their lives around to education, support and care for the children in the camps.
My goal is to inspire people to reach out and help. And, if I just reach one person who offers assistance then my goal has been achieved.
This is Kaskil’s story…
I was born in 1986, in DR Congo, Fizi, one of a twin and the only boy. I loved my family. We lived in poverty. I am ashamed to say that traumatizing events of sexual abuse is a normal occurrence faced by many females in Congo.
When I was 5, my sister who was 16, was raped by her classmate and due to the trauma she dropped out of school.
My mom was raped by my Uncle’s son when I was 8 years old. This triggered unsolvable conflict between my mother and father and the two families. The worst for my mom to endure was that news quickly spread among the neighbours, our classmates at school and we were called ‘children of a prostitute’.
My twin sister was raped when we were 12 year old by six men from Maji-Maji Rebel group, on her way home after collecting water for us.
In 2001, while I was at school, war broke out and I had to flee. I was separated from my dear parents and sisters. I was able to cross the lake into Tanzania and ended up in a refugee camp. I don’t know what happened to my parents or sisters, I pray they are alive somewhere.
I continued my education as I wanted to create a better life for myself and in 2008 graduated in Commercial Management & Administrations from ITCL in Tanzania.
I was fortunate, to get work in 2010 as Youth Educational Initiatives by training adults and children to speak English and as an Assistant Minister in the Church.
This was the start and I have been fortunate to work in many areas since then. In 2011 to 2015, I was an Assistant Translator & Interview Coordinator for a group of American Anthropologists.
During this time I also worked as a Research Assistant for a Swiss Anthropologist. My work involved conducting in-depth interview with men, women and youths about the social, psychological and financial issues faced by refugees. This gave me the insight and necessary skills to assist and help refugees to improve their lives, even marginally.
In 2015, I was invited by community members to become the Coordinator for five refugee run organisations, through the coalition named CEN: Community Empowerment Network.
I now raise awareness of sexual abuse in refugee camps throughout Africa and pray one day to reunite with my family.
Please contact me if you are able to offer assistance of any kind. CEN is seeking financial aid, educational books in English to teach children on the English language, clothing, bedding and toys for the children.