At the Balou Center, on the outskirts of Lubumbashi [chef-lieu du Haut-Katanga], it’s party time: a van sent by the company Go Congo has just unloaded packets of biscuits, the same ones that line schoolchildren’s schoolbags on these back-to-school days. The treats are immediately distributed to the kids who, on the lawn peeled by the sun, stretch threads on weaving boards or paint old tires now transformed into colorful armchairs. The greediest rush on the packages laughing and, clumsily, even devour the packaging…
For forty-two years, Maman Maggy has managed this center which welcomes street children, but especially young people who have been abandoned because of their handicap. If the eyes shine in view of the widely distributed cookies and if kids approach to beg a little affection, there is no doubt that the Balou Center welcomes the most disadvantaged children of Katanga [région du sud-est de la RDC].
The state of the roof, the bedding, the walls corroded by humidity also demonstrates the relative indifference of the public authorities. “Eight years ago, Governor Moïse Katumbi gave us some money”, assures Mama Maggy, “and Forrest companies have redone the roofs.”
This reception centre, which looks like an island of serenity on the edge of the noisy city, is both joyful and immensely helpless. The children are fed thanks to donations from individuals, housed in old furniture gleaned here and there. In the dormitories, the beds, covered with brightly colored fabrics, are smashed… However, the children, severely handicapped, play, laugh, greet with a smile. VS
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Source of the article
Launched in 1887, The evening is with La Libre Belgique, one of the two reference dailies in French-speaking Belgium. Rich in supplements and a pioneer on the web, it has nevertheless seen its sales decline sharply over the years. The generalist daily positions itself as politically neutral – even if it is the natural defender of French-speakers established in the Flemish outskirts of Brussels.
The evening is published by the Rossel group which, founded by Émile Rossel, still belongs to his heirs, the Hurbain family. Rossel owns several regional titles in Wallonia (united under the Sudpresse banner) as well as a majority stake in the group’s titles The voice of the North, in the north of France. Since July 1996, one finds on the site of the Evening the day’s edition as well as a substantial part of the newspaper’s archives. Very responsive to current events, the site has a large subscriber space.