Voices of street-connected children at the shelter LIKEMO-CATSR in Kinshasa

Radio broadcast from the emergency shelter LIKEMO-CASTR with children in street situation of Kinshasa for the French radio program “7 milliards de voisins” from September 5, 2018 on Radio France Internationale (RFI).

They are between 8 and 15 years old. When they arrive at the shelter LIKEMO-CATSR, the only emergency shelter for children in street situations in Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) in the popular district of Bandalungwa, their bodies are marked by the pains of a short life spent in the streets of this huge capital of the “muddling through”. They were kicked out of their families or they left because of the chaos in their homes. Some also flee the prison or have been abducted for exploitation.

Learn more about the shelter LIKEMO-CATSR: Inauguration of emergency shelter for children in street situations in Kinshasa

The journalist David Baché went to the emergency shelter LIKEMO-CATSR, open since November 2017, where these children can find a place to rest, a listening, a hygiene and sports and cultural activities … a drop in an ocean of children adrift.

For the population, the presence of these children is a danger and an insecurity, but it is these children who are in danger on the street. In the neighborhood of the shelter, the workers are often questioned on the behaviours or gestures of the children. Sometimes there are tough interventions from the police to arrest these children for vagrancy or theft. When the children arrive at the shelter, we can see the effects of this violence on the children’s bodies. Sometimes, when they defend themselves, they are even shot at.” Roger Katembwe, director of the shelter LIKEMO-CATSR.

Since its inauguration in November 2017, the shelter has welcomed more than 1,000 children out of the 20,000 children in street situations identified in Kinshasa, which counts more than 17 million inhabitants. The youngest children are between 4 and 5 years old, 25 for the oldest ones.

Voices of street-connected children at the shelter LIKEMO-CATSR in Kinshasa