Democratic Republic Of Congo
Displaced children in eastern DRC celebrated Christmas at an internally displaced camp 8 km from Goma, the regional capital of North Kivu province.
Children and families were forced to flee due to fighting between government forces and the M23 rebels.
"In our villages, our children used to celebrate Christmas properly, but now I was beginning to wonder how we were going to do it as we had fled the war. By the grace of God, there are benefactors who thought of us and came with something to make us smile again, so Christmas went well and I thank God very much", said Josephine Riziki, a woman forced to flee the war.
Another displaced woman, Furaha Mwahoro, added "we want the New Year to start with good things. Let the enemies leave our villages in Kibumba and let us leave this IDP camp (internally displaced people, Ed.)".
A local organisation welcomed the children to the camp with a meal, gifts and music.
On Friday, the M23 rebels met with a regional military force to hand over a strategic position near Goma.
"We have all been victims of what is happening here in the east, but one of the things we can do is to show that love, that generosity, that compassion and that solidarity with each other. That we don't just celebrate in the comfort of our homes, but that we realise that we can show gifts, a smile and give these children the opportunity to realise also that Christmas is a time of celebration for all", said Camille Ntoto, President and pastor of "Un Nouveau Jour" (A New Day) charity.
In recent months, the M23 rebels, a former rebellion of Tutsi Congolese supported by Rwanda and Uganda, have seized vast territories in eastern DRC.
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