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Anna, Gabrielle, Michelle and Élie have all fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, after suffering severe war crimes. The Graines d'Espoir organisation is now calling for your support to help them recover from this trauma.
Budget for the project :
Anna, Michelle and Gabrielle:
Anna, the mother, and her two daughters Michelle (11) and Gabrielle (13) fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018, due to the war and rebel assaults. The family has been able to survive in Togo for the past three years thanks to a few donations from churches.
In Congo, the mother was a pharmacist and her husband was a veterinarian. They had a good financial situation. During the war, they suffered severe physical abuse (rape and torture) and psychological abuse by the rebels. The father and one of their children were kidnapped. To this day, the mother does not know what happened to them. Her parents were murdered before her eyes, as well as the father's oldest daughter.
Michelle, the youngest daughter, hid in a closet. But Gabrielle, the oldest daughter, who tried to protect her mother, fell into a coma as a result of the abuse. When she woke up and since that day, she has been suffering from severe psychiatric disorders.
Since they arrived in Togo, Anna has been working hard for the well-being of her daughters. She took Gabrielle to a hospital in Lomé, where she was able to get a CT scan and an EEG. According to the doctors, the results were normal and the emotional trauma she experienced is at the origin of her psychological disorders. However, we want to do further neurological tests to confirm this. Gabrielle does not speak, and she shouts and laughs spontaneously. She can also become aggressive, as she is in a permanent defense mechanism. She jumps at the slightest noise or bright light, and she cannot stand too many people being around her.
Michelle has also been suffering from psychological problems, but not as severely as her sister.
The family is now living in Adetikope (a town between Tsévié and Lomé) in a small room far from the city. The mother pays 2,000 CFA francs per month thanks to the charity of the owner. However, for the past four months, she has not been able to afford the rent.
Michelle attends a private school because she only speaks French and not Ewe (the local language). The school fees were offered to her following a successful admission exam.
Gabrielle' s psychological condition is too serious for her to attend school. She has lost the ability to speak. She was able to receive speech therapy at the hospital of Tsévié as well as a neuroleptic treatment used for mental disorders (TERCIAN). However, everything stopped due to lack of means.
Their mother Anna is asthmatic, and she often has asthma attacks, sometimes to the point of suffocation, as she cannot afford her treatment.
To provide for her family, Anna had bought a hen and was trading eggs. Unfortunately, due to a plague infection, she lost all her eggs and chicks. Some of her neighbors donated a small piece of land where she had started to grow some vegetables to sell, but she had no means to start a business.
The youngest, Michelle, was hospitalized a few days ago for severe anemia due to her state of malnutrition. She benefited from a transfusion financed by the social affairs. Indeed, the family sometimes goes days without eating. As a result, all three of them (mother and daughters) are suffering from undernutrition.
Faced with this very difficult situation, we have decided to support this family.
To date, we have financed Michelle's anti-anemic treatment, Gabrielle's neuroleptic treatment and Anna's asthma treatment. We have given them 20,000 CFA francs so that Anna could pay her rent and buy food. We also gave them food supplements and clothes.
We are now looking for donations so that we can continue to support the family.
Indeed, we plan to finance two weekly return trips to the hospital in Tsévié, so that they can benefit from psychological and speech therapy. We are going to make an appointment with a neurologist in Lomé, in order to assess Gabrielle's condition. We will also support them through a monthly food supply, and we will help Anna build her own business, so that she can become financially independent and provide for her family.
When we visited the family, we also met Élie. He is from Congo and has also been taking refuge in Togo since 2018.
Élie was born in 1980. In Congo, he worked in the computer industry. He was kidnapped by the rebels several times, beaten and imprisoned in a box. During the abuse, the rebels injected him with an unknown substance in his spine.
He was finally left for dead in a ditch because the prisoner with him had escaped. Élie was found half unconscious by people who took him to the hospital. When he came out of his coma, he was not able to walk. Unfortunately, the hospital was taken over by the rebels. They killed everyone there, including his aunt who was taking care of him. He managed to escape with the help of Burkinabes who fled with him.
During these numerous attacks, Élie was separated from his wife and children. One of his children was killed, and he does not know if the rest of his family was able to escape the country. We are currently in the process of working with the Togo Red Cross to attempt to locate his family.
In October 2018, on the way to Burkina, Élie fell ill due to anemia. The people traveling with him left him at the hospital of Tsévié. He stayed there for 2 weeks for severe anemia at 2.6 g/l (the norm being around 13). He was transfused with four bags of blood and was able to leave the hospital. People from the church and interns from the hospital paid for his hospitalization. Due to lack of income, he stayed on the beach and then at the Grand Marché of Lomé. There he met with Muslims who took him to Zongo (a district of Lomé). Their mosque helped him finance the round trips to Tsévié so that he could receive physical therapy for his legs. The social worker of the hospital put him in contact with Anna, Michelle and Gabrielle.
He now lives with them in Adetikope. Thanks to his walking crutches and the physical therapy he received, he has regained some strength in his legs and is able to move around on his own, but slowly. In fact, he suffers from disorders related to spinal cord injuries. An MRI is essential to evaluate the lesions and the type of treatment to adopt. Unfortunately, in Togo this examination is very expensive. Until we can finance the MRI, he has been prescribed physiotherapy sessions and a vitamin treatment to help strengthen the central nervous system connections.
He suffers from extreme undernutrition. Due to lack of means, he would sometimes eat nothing for days. When we met him, we were shocked by how skinny he was. We are going to support him through a monthly food supply, as well as physiotherapy sessions at the hospital of Tsévié. Élie can only eat small amounts at the moment, but we hope that the food supply will allow him to gain weight.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
You can find more information about who we are on our website: associationgrainesdespoir.org/en
- Giu M
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