“The worst is the hunger. My children are hungry, and I cannot feed them.”

Helene Sebazungu and her children are on the run in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

© Anne Mette Futtrup

DCA DR Congo

Armed attacks have forced Helene Sebazungu to flee in the lush country, pushing her and millions of other Congolese into a survival struggle against hunger. Here you can meet Helene and get a glimpse into everyday life in a refugee camp in eastern DR Congo.

Helene has been living in the Kanyaruchinya camp since October 2022. She and her husband came here after waking up one night to the sound of grenades and gunfire.

The M23 militia had reached their village, and they quietly woke up their children and slipped into the forest to safety.

© Anne Mette Futtrup
The children are so small, so it took the whole day to get here to Kanyaruchinya. Their legs were swollen and thick when we arrived.

Back in her village, Helene had a peaceful everyday life.

The family had a small farm and participated in village activities. Now, every day is a struggle for survival.

She lives with her seven children in one tent.

They sleep in the back, while the front room has space to hang some clothes to dry.

© Anne Mette Futtrup
Kvinderne i lejren samler brænde, som de sælger på markedet. Turen er farlig, og børnene er alene, mens Helene er afsted.

Helene’s tent is right next to the main road of the area, where heavy trucks roar by.

There are frequent traffic accidents, and many families in the camp have lost a child in traffic.

Others have lost family members in the armed fighting – or in the chaos that follows when thousands of adults and children run in the same direction away from them.

© Anne Mette Futtrup

Like 6.3 million others in the country, the family lives on food, water, and other basic necessities provided by humanitarian organizations. The food aid is enough for one meal a day.

To supplement the emergency rations, Helene collects firewood in the forest and sells it at the market.

While she is collecting firewood, her children are alone in the camp.

© Anne Mette Futtrup
I go back to our village multiple times a week to collect wood in the forest. I know it is dangerous. The biggest risk is being attacked. Many women are attacked when they are in the forest. But I have no other options if I want to feed my children.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a land rich in resources.

The vast country encompasses fertile agricultural land, sprawling national parks, and valuable minerals beneath the surface.

However, armed conflicts have hindered its progress towards a brighter future since the mid-1990s.

© Anne Mette Futtrup

DanChurchAid (DCA) is present in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) providing emergency relief, including food, medicine, and trauma support.

We work on long-term development initiatives in education, mine clearance, and prevention of gender-based violence.

In collaboration with our partners in Uganda, we also assist people who have fled across the border.

© Anne Mette Futtrup

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