For weeks now, clashes between armed gangs have been occurring repeatedly, with people fleeing their homes and families in an attempt to save their lives. Most of the population is terrorized by armed criminal gangs. Kidnappings, embezzlement, exactions, destruction of public property are repeated, not to mention the risk of dying from a stray bullet in the war between gangs, especially in Port-au-Prince. According to the report of the National Strategy for the Disarmament, Dismantling of Armed Groups and Social Reintegration of Disarmed Individuals (SNDDR), there are 162 armed groups in the country, more than half of which are located in and around the capital. They reportedly have 3,000 members, including adolescents and children.
Makenson BELCOMBE and Keenken Belcombe are the two recent street children who have been hosted at AGAPE, our rehabilitation center. Fleeing the conflicts between bandits that are currently taking place in their community, the two minors were in danger, without protection from the authorities of their locality, they were left to themselves and didn’t know what to do to find a safe shelter.
One of them, according to his statements, doesn’t even know his age and has never been enrolled in a school. He confided to us that he was subjected to all kinds of abuse in the street, whether it was from people to whom he did favors or from people he begged. When they arrived at the center, they felt free from that entire burden, delighted that they had found a place where they could feel safe. The satisfaction expressed on their faces did not leave anyone indifferent.
Since yesterday the coordinator of Agape Kechny Mettelus welcomed Makenson and Kenken and made them feel at home. The picture below will give you an idea of how these youngsters have been welcomed by the AGAPE center. We ask for your prayers and help so that DFI can help many more other children in need.