A Very Present Help in Trouble

Through our Safe Haven project, God is providing hope, healing, and vocational training for vulnerable, displaced women in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

When Marie* fled her village with her five children, there was no time for the 34-year-old widow to explain to her young ones why they had to leave their home so quickly.

Marie is enjoying her time learning a useful skill like sewing while also learning more about Jesus Christ.

Marie is enjoying her time learning a useful skill like sewing while also learning more about Jesus Christ.

Violence and insecurity have rolled like a storm through eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in recent years, and an estimated 1.7 million people have had to seek temporary shelter in places like Bunia, Ituri Province.

But camps for internally displaced people can pose their own risks to vulnerable populations. Even though Marie and her children had escaped armed conflict, they did not always feel safe in their new “home.”

In response to this concern shared by Marie and many others, Samaritan’s Purse established a safe space, primarily for women and children, within the camp in Bunia. Our site provides a welcome refuge and allows participants a secure place where they can learn new skills that they can rely on for years to come.

“Now I’m learning an occupation,” Marie said, sharing her excitement about developing skills in sewing, embroidery, and hairdressing taught by our team of instructors. “This project has opened our minds and changed our mentality toward what’s possible. It’s renewed my hope.”

Marie is also grateful to learn from other women who teach her more about God. She received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour during a previous Samaritan’s Purse project and is eager to grow in her faith—and in her professional skills.

A Place to Heal

By teaching marketable skills in a welcoming environment, our staff members are able to show the love of Jesus Christ in tangible ways. The Safe Haven project also allows women an opportunity to deal with their deep but often invisible wounds through trauma counseling and grief processing. Our team regularly prays for participants and shares the Word of God through daily Bible reading. Finally, there’s a social and recreational component to the program that includes singing and dancing.

Our instructors provide useful training and also emotional and spiritual to the many struggling women they serve.

Our instructors provide useful training and also emotional and spiritual to the many struggling women they serve.

This platform often yields opportunities to share the Good News of the Gospel. Many participants see the project as God’s way of healing and rescuing them from difficult circumstances.

“This organisation listens to us; they love us,” said 19-year-old Therese*, who is caring for a recently-orphaned 9-year-old child. “I was very desperate for life and I even wished for death; but by listening to the Word of God, I feel a change in my life on the spiritual level.”

The Bunia location is just one of a number of Safe Haven projects established by Samaritan’s Purse throughout DRC to assist the country’s suffering and vulnerable populations. Many of the people we help are young: some are teenaged single mothers; some have lost their husbands to war or disease.

“They give us a secure place to blossom,” Therese said. “We are very grateful to them.”

Among the many Bible passages often quoted by our staff and participants, Psalm 46 stands out in their minds as a favorite to remind them Who their true safe haven is:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way” (vv. 1-2a, ESV).

Please join us in praying for the situation in eastern DRC, asking that the nation would come to know a lasting peace. Pray for the many individuals in our Safe Haven program, asking that they would all experience rekindled hope through Jesus Christ.

*Names changed for security.

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