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Hear Our Voices - Democratic Republic of the Congo

Marcel wants an education

 If I could give a message to people in rich countries, I would first say thank you for the assistance you have already provided and I would also like to encourage them to continue these acts of love and generosity.

Marcel Tabaro Bashengezi is 12 and an ex-child soldier from Kabare, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

His mother died giving birth and he went to live with a foster mother. After she died, he returned to live with his father. He has never really been to school. “My family paid once for one month but couldn’t pay after that so I was chased away,” he said.

One night, when he was 11, a group of Interahamwe rebels came to the house demanding money. Marcel recalls, “We didn’t have any money and could only offer them a pig so they shot Papa. After looting our house, the Interahamwe made me go with them carrying everything on my head.”

The group traveled for months on foot through the Kahuzi Biega Park to Bunyakiri in South Kivu. During this time, Marcel had to sleep outside with no blanket and was given only raw meat to eat. The behavior of the Interahamwe frightened Marcel. “I knew I didn’t want to be a part of it; so one night I fled while they argued over alcohol. They started shooting everywhere and I had to fall on the ground to avoid being shot but I was able to get away.”

Marcel is now at UNICEF’s demobilization center where he receives food from WFP, clothes and councelling. Marcel’s wish is to be educated.

When asked if he wanted to pass a message to world leaders he said, “Please don’t forget us.” Marcel also asked if they could go into the forest and capture all the Interahamwe and return them to their homes.

Photo: OCHA
 

 

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