- A Lokole Methodist Radio program hosted by Global Ministries missionary Innocent Afful aims to mobilize millions of listeners for the cause of orphans and disadvantaged children in Kinshasa.
- Congo capital Kinshasa has more than 18,000 children in need, some of whom are threatened by civil unrest in the region.
- An Advance project, “The Hands and the Heart of Christ Orphanage Home,” trains young orphans in various skills.
Every Saturday morning, Lokole Methodist Radio dedicates 30 minutes on air to lifting up the cause of vulnerable children.
The program, "30 Minutes with the Orphans," is an initiative of Innocent Afful, a missionary with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, who serves as the coordinator for orphans and vulnerable children for the Churches of Christ in Congo.
Lokole Methodist Radio is an FM radio station of The United Methodist Church broadcasting in Kinshasa, the capital of Congo. After years of silence, the radio was relaunched in mid-2021 with financial support from United Methodist Communications. The station covers nearly 4,000 square miles in an area inhabited by approximately 17 million potential listeners.
Through his radio show, Afful aims to mobilize those listeners to support orphans and vulnerable children. “The best way to influence people to help orphanages is by letting them know that it is our responsibility to bring hope to the children,” he said.
“We all know that so many children are moving around Kinshasa, sleeping outside, at times stealing from people. We focus on those residing in orphanages as we have to feed them, dress them, send them to school, provide health care and even address their psychological problems,” explains Afful. “For all this, we need the support of good people of heart; it is a heavy burden.”
In the Kinshasa sub-region alone, there are over 18,000 children in need. Afful's work is concentrated in the Diakonia department of the Churches of Christ in Congo, which serves the most vulnerable, many of whom are orphaned or threatened by civil conflict.
The Churches of Christ in Congo is an ecumenical council of 74 member denominations, including The United Methodist Church, representing 31 million believers, 320,000 congregations, 28,720 schools and 48 colleges.
As part of his work, Afful works with 15 orphanages and four vocational training centers that offer trade skills such as soap making and sewing.
“We want to see people working and generating income to support their families. We want to increase the literacy rate of children and teenagers in the community,” said Afful, describing the change he wants to bring about through his activities.
“We want people to be able to afford three meals a day. Finally, we want to see our young girls and boys progress in their education and have a professional career to achieve personal fulfillment,” he said.
Arnold Ngala is the supervisor of the Orphelinat le Réparateur, which is located in Kinkole, 35 kilometers from downtown Kinshasa.
“I thank God Almighty for sending us missionary Afful, who is always on the radio talking about the needs of the orphanages,” Ngala said. “When our children see him, they know that there is good news coming. When donations are brought by Afful, the children welcome them with joy and we take pictures with a smile to thank him and the donors.”
Marie-Thérèse Lisumbu, coordinator of the Centre d'Hébergement des Filles Égarées, an orphanage located in Masina Nfumu Nsuka, said the radio show is a springboard. “The world today is based on relationships, and the radio show allows us to reach potential partners. With it, we are able to contact several partners at once.”
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The United Methodist Church supports vulnerable children in Congo through the Hands and the Heart of Christ Orphanage Home, a Global Ministries Advance project implemented by Afful.
With this project, Afful said, he strives to educate, equip and empower children through vocational and life skills training to provide a better future for the broken, vulnerable and excluded.
“We have started to produce water, make soap and also farm cassava and sweet potatoes with some of the orphanages. Our vocational training centers provide training for the children and community members,” he said.
Lisumbu said the missionary’s support allows them to reduce juvenile delinquency and adequately care for the children. “His assistance enables us to fight against malnutrition, illiteracy and to have a good infrastructure.”
Gédéon Kabeya, one of the orphans housed at the Center for the Lodging of Lost Girls, is grateful to Afful for his commitment to those in need.
“The help of the missionary allows us to have food, clothing and other provisions at the orphanage.”
Londe is a French news editor for UM News in the DRC.
Press contact: Julie Dwyer, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469. To read more United Methodist News, subscribe to the Free Daily or Weekly Digests.
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