The Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular, KIVU, has been described by many journalists, especially Nicholas Christoff, as the most dangerous place for children to live. There is no real government presence in the Kivu region. The Education Sector has broken down because of wars and poor governance for 30 years under the dictator, Mobutu. In all schools, parents must take care of tuition and uniforms without government assistance.
Because of war that started in 1996, most people have lost their sources of income. The villages where most people live are no longer safe. People can no longer cultivate because of insecurity.
Kivu has been experiencing horrific armed conflict. Civilians are the main target of the armed forces. Children and youths are the most vulnerable group. Research conducted by Cindy Mels, PhD. www.centreforchildren.be/cindy-mels shows that 95% of youths between 13 and 21 years old in the Eastern Congolese province, KIVU have been through some traumatic experience.
Girls have an elevated risk to experience post traumatic stress symptoms after being exposed to violence. One of the most prevalent forms of violence against young women is sexual abuse, which is used as a weapon of war and is seen in gross numbers and horrific forms in the Eastern Congo.
The death toll from the war has reached 5 million people leaving a considerable number of orphans. This makes the children even more vulnerable to sexual violence and recruitment as child soldiers by armed militias.
As part of the solutions, the Center for Youth Emancipation and Development, CYED, has been created to advocate for the educational needs of the children in Eastern Congo, D.R. The primary goals of CYED are to provide: