Mount Nyiragongo, on the outskirts of Goma, erupted for the second time in 20 years on 22 May 2021, wiping out villages and fields, and destroying churches, schools and houses from the lava and the tremors that followed the lava flows. Our friends in Goma responded initially with emergency provision of food, water, cooking equipment and shelter. A few weeks later their focus shifted to providing 70 of the displaced households with $100 each to be able to start a small-scale business, along with training in small-scale commerce and investment into credit associations as a step towards their empowerment.
The story of Madame Zaïre Noela illustrates the plight of so many. She is a 50 year old widow with five children who lived from the produce of the fields surrounding their house. They fled into neighbouring Rwanda when they saw lava descending onto their house and fields. Everything was consumed by the flow. Helped with $100 from our appeal, she bought charcoal and flour which she sells on, and uses the profit to buy feed her family, while saving $1 a week. She ‘thanks God who protected my children and me despite our material loss, and we thank the church in Goma that helped us in this extremely difficult period‘.
Madame Ruduzenabo Esperance and her husband lost their house and fields in the same way. They used the money to start a small business selling drinks, and also save $1 a week into their savings account.
Semiliki is particularly grateful to members of St Andrew’s church, Wiveliscombe, who launched an appeal to help the 20 of the displaced families, and to many other Semiliki supporters with whose support we were also able to help the displaced in Bukiringi who had fled their homes when attacked. Just before Christmas we sent more money to help the displaced in Bukiringi.
Pastor Martin Gordon writes on behalf of Christians in Goma: ‘The report comes with grateful thanks for your generosity which has enabled 20 families become self-sufficient and more resilient to any future challenges that might lie ahead. These are 20 families who would still be struggling with the
aftermath of the volcano had you not intervened‘.