DR CONGO - Justice Rising

To see every war affected nation restored to peace

$140,082 raised
1417
donations

HOPE agent, Justice Rising, brings peace to communities affected by war by providing quality education to children at risk. Justice Rising works to build schools, develop programs, and raise up community leaders toward the goal of promoting peace and breaking the cycle of war.

 

Justice Rising Schools

There are over 3 million out-of-school children in the DRC today. We are looking to change that. Over the next five years, we plan on building 40 new schools in various war-affected communities, believing that schools will produce the future leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow.

 

Freedom Boys Project

Amidst armed conflict, a tragic common side effect is children being abducted into the army. After sitting with numerous parents who had lost their children to rebel armies or were in perpetual hiding after escaping abduction, we sought a homegrown solution.

The Freedom Boys program relocates boys into the city, organizing new and safe living situations for them - often foster housing with a relative. This geographical move frees these young men to focus on their education. The boys are paired with mentors to ensure that they receive holistic care: healthy bodies, minds, and souls.

 

Leadership League

We saw a significant increase in the number of teenage boys being abducted into the rebel army or, feeling powerless against this inevitability, choosing to join the army in order to protect their families from threats. Our response was Leadership League, a simple soccer league, in hopes of providing the boys a healthy outlet, as well as a community where they could learn to stick together and gain healthy vision for their futures. 

Our coaching aims to teach and model what it means to be an honest leader and play on the field is accompanied by group counseling. Both on the field and off, these young men are learning to cultivate lives of peace, taking hold of their futures without being backed into the corner of war.

Having grown beyond a soccer league, the program now extends opportunity to these young men to earn a GED and attend vocational programs, offering the hope of opportunity and good jobs in adult life.

 

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Project Updates

  • Our staff meets with families, teaching them the power of education and the importance of sending children to school. Many families don’t want to pay for the schooling or buy a uniform.

    In the midst of conflict however, education helps create strong social bonds that help keep the family together. It also reduces the trauma in children and encourages stability in the midst of so much unknown.

    War is not a respecter of persons; either old, young, man or woman. When war enters a village, it affects the entire community.

  • At the beginning we didn’t dream for 50 schools. At the beginning we dreamt for one school we started for children displaced by the war. But over time we saw the transformation happening in that community as a result of our programs and we started to dream for another school and then another.

    We feel like we are in a race against time. Build schools before the next conflict or war breaks out and the army takes the kids before we can. We don’t move in fear or panic but with purpose. We look at the region and select where to base ourselves determined by the greatest need and how we can bring the biggest change. In the face of so much war, we want to be the group that responds with action and stands with others to bring change.

    We have traveled deeper into the UN classified red zone looking for communities desperate for schools and places where we know we can replicate our model.

    Our dreams grow with the construction of each school. We now have seven schools in the DRC and 1,500 students. Fifty schools still sounds optimistic but we believe our impact won’t stop there. Our dream would be that others would catch the dream as well and together, as a global community, we can work to see every child living in conflict transformed by education and empowered to bring peace for the next generation.

  • Education is one of the most powerful tools to transform a community. By building schools we are reducing the chance of young boys being abducted into the army, young girls being taken as child brides and bringing stability to families so they can de-traumatize and be empowered to create change.  Schools are a catalyst for transformation and the Kingdom lived out.

    Every year all of the teachers in our schools attend a three-day training intensive where they revisit Justice Rising’s core values. They learn teaching best practices, obtain new techniques for classroom management and review our pedagogical framework. This past summer we had over 60 teachers attend the training.

  • With every school we build there is a Leadership League that accompanies the school. The boys are encouraged to lay down their weapons in exchange for a soccer ball and soccer gear. The League is an extra curricular group that teaches young people how to talk about their trauma through the Storytelling Movement.

    By sharing painful memories from their past and hard things they’re facing in the present, the group inspires locally led discussions in the pursuit of wholeness and healing.

    “The League has taught me how to forgive. When you live in the same neighborhood as the man you saw kill your friend, you want to respond with hate. But together, we’ve learned not to respond to hate with more hate but instead to deal with our anger. Sharing your life story with the group is important because we all understand what the other is going through. This league, my brothers here, have changed my life.”

  • Seeing the desperate need in war zones, we knew we needed to respond.  How do you even begin to make a dent on the years of conflict and crisis in these very complicated nations?

     “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For us, our step was education. Education is one of the best ways to transform communities living in conflict. When educated, young boys are less likely to join the army or be taken as child soldiers. Young girls are less at risk of becoming child brides and giving birth at a young age. Not only is it the best way to fight extremism, it’s the best way to promote stability and keep families together on a grassroots level. If you want to end war, reduce poverty and fight the orphan crisis…get kids into schools.

    This is one of our new schools built this summer in Mgunga.

  • “Teachers from other villages started asking us how we were able to enroll so many girls in our schools. We have become known in our district as leaders in girls’ education.” Kambale, Justice Rising Primary School Teacher in Kalembe

    We are extremely proud of the fact that our schools have achieved complete gender parity inside the classroom, a rare feat in rural contexts!

  • Creating something that lasts isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a deep work building foundations and structures. It’s a lot of boring work at times, often not the glamorous stories that we share from a stage, but it’s what moves you from lasting a few years to lasting several decades.

    Over the last little while we’ve been developing strategy for using education in a way that literally changes culture and rises up agents of change that can implement structures of peace.

    Rather than planting schools at whim, we strategize to maximize our impact.

    We’ve been dreaming and strategizing while sitting at our computer, pouring over research.

    UNESCO statistic says “Doubling secondary student enrolment from 30% to 60% has the potential to half the risk of conflict.”

    So in this next season we’re excited to be building! We see education as a profound tool to see transformation in communities.

    Primary Education.     Secondary Education.       Mentoring.

    Discipleship.         Health classes.        Family and parenting workshops. 

    Education is so much more than just learning to read and write. Education is teaching a new way of thinking. To come out of war and poverty, we need to see some shifts in mindsets and behavior patterns.

  • His name is Solomon and his wisdom is endless, as is his smile!

     

    He has never known anything but war and faces another night of uncertainty.  Another night with things packed, ready to run to the jungle at any point to flee the gunshots. 

     

    These are the most resilient kids!  Through our schools, we refuse to give in to fear and stand for peace in the midst of war.  We are determined our children will be more familiar with pencils than guns.  We believe in a future where girls are educated and not taken as child brides.

     

  • Love is Courage: The courage to look past your years and take in your grandaughter after her parents were killed in the war.

    Love is Faith: The faith to believe that though you have nothing, there will be enough for you and those living under your roof.

    Love is Hope: The hope that the world is becoming a better place.  That though there was war yesterday, there may be peace tomorrow.

    Love is tangible.  It delights. It mourns.  It is selfless and generous.

    We learn alot about love among the stories of war.

     

  • Masisi, DRC. This is Ushindi. He's the kind of kid you want to squeeze no matter how dirty he becomes. Or at least we think so. Even though we don't care if he's covered in mud, his mother sure does and is constantly trying to get him to stand  in a red bucket filled with freezing cold water in front of his house to "take a bath". He lives next door to our team, so these efforts are often on display for us to see.

     

    His house is made of mud and is about the size of a walk-in closet.

    He used to live in a bigger house but after war hit his village, he and his family had to flee for their lives and take refuge anywhere they could.

     

    War isn't about statistics. Nameless, faceless. War is about people. People who have a name and voice, a story and the cutest of kids.

    We long to make their story heard.

     

     

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$140,082 raised
1417
donations
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