20140820-02A project which, in the outskirts of Kinshasa – capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo – would like to give teens an adequate education and nutrition, medical treatment and clothing is known as Petite Flamme (Little Flame) and it has been taking care of 1650 children inserted in 9 schools. “It has already been 17 years that I have been accompanying this project,” says Edi, project collaborator for the Focolare Movement, “which for the past 19 years we have taken ahead thanks to the “Support at a Distance” project of the New Families Movement. Aside from the children, the teachers and their families are also benefited, since they have a job even if the salary is a modest one, in a country where the unemployment rate exceeds 80%.”

20140820-03There are countlesss examples of the concrete support that the project is able to give. “For example,” Edi continues, “a single-mother in difficulty was able to obtain a diploma in sewing, and is now able to provide food for her child and for herself. Or in another instance, an orphaned teenage boy will be the first to graduate in mathematics and computer science at the University of Kinshasa”. At Petite Flamme we also welcome unsighted children who follow a formation course especially made for them. And once they have completed their studies, the teens are not left without any means of livelihood: the teenage girls who have received a diploma in dressmaking, for example, will be given a sewing machine so that they can start their own professional activity. “These children, receive a special formation in music,” Edi explains, “and they receive as a gift a classical guitar. During the graduation celebration a blind boy sang for everyone a song composed by all of them as a gift, and to thank their parents for having taken care of them despite the difficulties that their situation involves, especially in a poor country.”

Jonathan (left) with his classmates

Some of the experiences shared were quite moving: “In Kinshasa, a city of almost 12 million inhabitants, there is only one center for people with debilitates,” Edi shared. One of our collaborators, during one of her visits there to undergo some sessions of physiotherapy, met a boy wearing his school uniform, and who was severely disabled. “Who could he be?” she asked herself. “In spite of his physical challenges he was different from the all the other sick people there, because he seemed so happy”. The Genfest T-shirt from Budapest that our collaborator was wearing became the occasion to start a friendship with this boy, since he too knew the Focolare Movement. Our collaborated commented: “Finally I met this person called Jonathan who is now going to the remedial school Petite Flamme. The young boy, some time ago, was living in the most extreme poverty, and so we looked for a mattress for him so that he could be taken in by one of his uncles. His educational achievements have improved together with his physical condition, thanks to physiotherapy. At the end of this scholastic year, Jonathan was able to take the exams which allowed him to proceed to high school.”

The experiences of some of the young girls who attend the school are quite strong: “Suffering caused me to look for money in a dishonest way,” one of them shared, “and soon I became pregnant. The birth of my daughter Jordan increased my suffering, because now we were in two who needed help. But one day the person responsible for the basic ecclesial community of the Catholic Church of Marina Baramato introduced me to Petite Flamme. I was ashamed to put on the school uniform, but I was touched by the love of our teachers. They made themselves one with me, despite my inferior scholastic level. And so I did the same with my little Jordan. Now I am very interested in all the lessons: I would like to continue my formation up to the end, and my dream is to become a good seamstress.”


  • Grazie per la memoria dell’ispirato impegno dell’Opera nel Congo, dall’epoca di Monica Maria e Antonio, a quelle di Paulo Melo e di Damien. Affido tutto, passato, presente e futuro, alla Sua grazia, in fiduciosa speranza nell’Unita’.

  • La foto sopra è della Repubblica Centroafricana. MOstra Fidelia, direttrice di una grande scuola a Bangui che testimonia con la sua vita un possibile ritorno alla pace!

    • Carissima Monika-Maria,
      Grazie! di averci indicato che la foto non corrispondeva all’articolo. Abbiamo subito provveduto a cambiarla.
      Speriamo che ora vada bene. Scusateci del contrattempo. Grazie ancora.. La redazione web

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