Christine grew up in Bukavu, South Kivu Province in the DRC, in a middle class family. Her father worked at a local brewing company until there was threat of violence and he lost his job. He moved his family to Goma, North Kivu province, and went to Kinshasa in hopes to find another job, but never did. With the loss of her father’s income and the war being waged, Christine’s family experienced hunger, destitution, and poverty for the first time. Just as they were starting to get back on their feet Mt. Nyiragongo erupted (2002), decimating the city of Goma. The family fled to Rwanda with nothing and lived on next to nothing. They returned to Goma to find their home and everything in it destroyed. Christine’s mother lost her job as a nurse at this time and it became even harder to support a family with seven children.
Christine’s story might be unique to her, but the situations she lived through are not unique to many of those who call Congo home. The hardship she experienced in her childhood made her very aware of the reality many vulnerable children were living. Her living situation improved, but she knew that for many children it wouldn’t. Her desire to create an organization that met the needs of vulnerable children grew and she began sharing her idea with others. CAMME became a reality in 2007 with help and support from her brother, Stewart, and her uncle, Pascal.
So what is CAMME? The vision of CAMME is that in the midst of war and disaster we can still hope and when children are given the right tools, even in seemingly impossible situations, they can succeed. Their goal is that children
achieve their true potential personally, educationally, and professionally. CAMME is more than just a school, they have educational programs and support programs (like nutrition, health hygiene, social services, etc.). CAMME has grown and now has the Home Away From Home Orphanage for the most vulnerable of children.
Why do I think CAMME is important? Youth are always our future, it doesn’t matter where you live. If Congo wants to see a brighter, better future I believe a huge part of that is education and empowerment of youth. CAMME is taking children off the street and giving them life skills so they can help improve their own lives and the lives of their community through their trade. They are empowering children by giving them the chance to learn what they are capable of and by showing those children that there are people who care about them and what happens to them. I also love that CAMME was started by someone in the Goma community, who grew up through hardships and now is able to turn and give back.
Look at their website to learn more about what CAMME is doing and how they are growing! If you really have a heart for vulnerable children they do have volunteer opportunities.