The Kivu Assistance and Reintegration Centre’s director is Ferdinand Benge Luendo a Congolese educator, peace activist and humanitarian worker. He has helped establish and run several local non-governmental organisations involved in peace building and worked as a school headmaster, teacher, trainer, and translator in North Kivu, on behalf of UN agencies and numerous international NGOs. He also works part time helping facilitate the activity of various foreign news agencies operating in the Kivus, from the New York Times, BBC and The Discovery Channel, to television networks from Japan, Italy, Norway and elsewhere. The Kivu Assistance and Reintegration Centre and its ability to contribute to peace and stability in the region is his current focus.
A message from Ferdinand:
In my daily and professional life I have been an eyewitness to the dramatic and undesirable events of the past 15 years of conflict in eastern Congo and the situation which still prevails here since the coming of warfare and the creation of the militias. In the course of facilitating the work of government and non-governmental organisations and international journalists throughout North and South Kivu, as well as witnessing events in my home area and all around me in the Kivus, I have constantly heard from people who have been affected by highly harmful actions and events, including the child soldiers themselves, recruited by the belligerents.
Even as progress is made in allowing the displaced to return to their home villages the problem remains in these communities of demobilised soldiers and other at risk youth who lived by looting the population during the war period. These young men are still unemployed and living in poverty, without the skills and assistance to settle peacefully and support themselves. They remain an unresolved issue and a time bomb in a country that needs to turn the page from war and move toward the peace and development the Congolese need so as to enjoy the resources of this big and lovely country.
Our aims and objectives at the Kivu Assistance and Reintegration Centre are to contribute to the consolidation of peace in both Congo and the region. Through our activities we are teaching and providing skills to the vulnerable, the youth who have participated in war, and who now need assistance to reintegrate to their, and our, communities.
Ferdinand Benge Luendo
Goma, North Kivu