May 29 2008

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo makes a surprise visit to SOS Children's Village Bukavu

29/05/2008 - On 27 May 2008, H.E Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, made a surprise visit to the SOS Children's Village in Bukavu after he officially launched tarring works of the road leading from Bukavu to the Kavumu airport.

Photo: SOS Archives
To the surprise of the people of Bukavu, President Kabila arrived at SOS Children's Village Bukavu on the morning of 27 May for his first visit since 2006, when he rose to the Presidency. He was warmly welcomed by a big crowd of people made up of SOS mothers, children, youth, the village director, the national director and the whole SOS staff in the DRC, as well as people from the surrounding communities. Among the authorities accompanying the President of the Republic were representatives of South Kivu such as Governor Louis Leonce Muderwa and his councelors, members of the government, among whom Pierre Lumbi and Mwando Simba, the ministers of public works and of transports respectively.

The village director Mr. Ciraane and the national director, Ms Marthe Kangene, introduced the organisation to the guests and elaborated on its commitment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while focusing on some of the problems that they meet in their daily work. The occasion was also seized to announce to the President of the Republic that a third SOS Children's Village will soon be built in Kinshasa, the capital. The laying of the foundation stone will take place on 6 June 2008.

Children from the village and the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School performed cultural presentations made up of traditional songs and dances for their guest. After this musical interlude, President Kabila made a tour of the village by visiting the family houses. In one house he talked to the mother, the children, the village director and the national director. He learned a lot about the village, and he seemed really impressed.

President of the Republic's visit to Bukavu's children's village can be seen as a strong message, signifying the acceptance and recognition of the organisation's activities in the country. Moreover, it shines a light on the situation of abandoned and vulnerable children.

The visit ended with picture taking that the President agreed to pose for with the children, the SOS mothers and the staff.