Democratic Republic of the Congo
Social reintegration of former child prisoners into the Kinshasa community
Many children and young people in Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, come into conflict with the law. It is often street children, who see a life of crime as the only way to survive. If caught, their criminal careers usually come to an end with a stay in the city’s Makala Central Prison. And because nobody cares about what happens after that, these children are often simply forgotten. There are currently around 300 such children languishing in the Malaka prison today.
Once they have served their time, these young people leave without any prospects for the future. They find themselves in a vicious cycle, generally ending up back on the streets and eventually in prison again. The authorities responsible are doing little to solve the problem as they are often unfamiliar with the country’s criminal law relating to young offenders and are not in a position to even process the individual cases. Without outside support, the children and young people remain trapped in this vicious cycle.
Caritas international and its partner organisation, the Bureau International Catholique de l’Enfance Deutschland (BICE), is successfully providing the necessary support. Social workers and volunteers are working to ensure that the rights and dignity of the young people in prison are respected, that they receive acceptable prison conditions, as well as a quick and fair process. However, the main goal is to reintegrate these children into their families and communities once they have their freedom again. This means, first and foremost, creating perspectives through education and training. Efforts are therefore being made to get young people who have left prison into school or vocational courses. The urban social workers are also receiving training as part of the project in order to ensure their work is carried out more effectively. Since the project started, there have already been hundreds of children successfully resocialised.
The Redel Foundation is supporting this important project with €100,000.