G.U.A.O.A. is an orphanage situated in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (city of Goma). The acronym in French stands for Groupe Uni pour Aider les Orphelins Abandonés which means Group United to Help Abandoned Orphans. It was founded in 1994 by Maman Marie Matiko who brought in others to assist her with the care of the children. Maman Matiko had decided to create a home for the large number of children who were left behind to fend for themselves after the death of their parents and family members due primarily to the civil war that began in 1994. This war which has claimed up to six million lives, still rages on in small pockets on the east coast of the country.
Local volunteers have made it their mission to assist these children in need along with underprivileged children from the community, even though they do not get compensated. Assistance is minimal from local citizens and businesses due to ongoing hardships caused by the civil unrest. Because of this great need, we are determined to let these children know they are loved and can have a promising future.
"And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " Acts 20:35b
The orphanage houses 165 children ranging from the age of 5 to 18 years old. 33% of them are schooled with the assistance of generous donors (public schools in the DRC are fee-based). They eat once a day when food is available.
Beds, mattresses, blankets, and sheets
Clothing and shoes
It was in 2004 that the FDLR rebels began to terrorize the people in my village which is situated in the territory of Masisi. I was a little boy at the time when they came to my village and killed almost everyone, few people managed to flea to the bushes. I was home with my family as this was ongoing, the rebels came into my home and killed my parents whose bodies fell on me. I was left there alone for 2 hours, there was complete silence after the rebels left, I did not hear a single thing move. I myself could not move under the weight of my parent's bodies. I lost consciousness and when I woke up, I found myself in the hospital. I later learned that my siblings were also killed.
After the death of my family, I was hopeless and prayed to God that I too should die but the Lord rescued me by sending volunteers of GUAOA to take me to the orphanage where i was cared for.
I am very grateful to my sponsor in the U.S.A. whom I call "mom". Because of her, today I am a man and am considered intelligent. Because of her I was able to find a job and because of her prayers and Bible verses she often sent me, I am called a child of God.
Noel graduated from high school in July 2016. Upon graduation, he was hired by an organization near Goma. He has stated he will never forget his brothers and sisters at the orphanage. He visits them once a quarter and brings them sacks of rice and beans purchased with his salary. He also started sponsoring a child at the orphanage for the 2018-2019 school year.
Nsimire lived with both of her parents in the province of South Kivu in an area called Katana. Her father died of diabetes when she was very small. After her father's death, she moved in with her maternal uncle.
2 years later, she witnessed her mother being raped then killed by machete by rebels called Raia Mutomboki who caused terror in the South Kivu region.
After her mother's death, she was taken in by GUAOA Orphanage who worked hard to find her a sponsor. In 2011 a sponsor took on the responsibility of ensuring she gets an education and has been paying for her tuition since then.
Nsimire is now a college freshman. She is pursuing a 12-month certification program in computer science and English, with funding provided in combination from her U.S. sponsor and a local sponsor. Nsimire frequently volunteers at the orphanage in between her studies to help with the younger children and to run errands.
Rebeca lived with her family in the village of Kaina in the territory of Lubero in North Kivu. Her father was a successful business man which did not sit well with many local individuals who were struggling. One night Rebeca's brother and others circled around their home, poured gasoline everywhere, lit the house on fire while her and her family were asleep and fled. God saved Rebeca, she was the only one to make it out with burns on her back. Several days later her father's brother and his helpers returned to take whatever was still in good condition to keep for themselves. He had no interest in helping Rebeca. She found herself in a hospital and was cared for until GUAOA heard of her story and picked her up.
Rebeca is very happy to have a sponsor whom she calls her mother. She lost all of her family but she has been blessed with a new one even though her mother is in another continent, she is determined to work hard in school and make her proud.
Esther and Rehema were born in the South of Kivu in the Fizi/Baraka territory. Both of their parents were merchants and they often traveled between Fizi and Moba via Lake Tanganyika to purchase and sell merchandise in a motorized canoe. One day while traveling with their parents and 45 other people, the canoe capsized and all but 7 people were saved by fishermen. Their parents died but Esther and Rehema survived. A woman later found them and dropped them off at the orphanage when they were a year and a half.
Esther and Rehema were able to start school in 2014 thanks to a sponsor who has been covering their educational expenses and day-to-day needs.
Gain additional Educational Sponsors with a goal of sending all GUAOA children to school.
Create and implement additional Vocational Training Programs.
Continue to raise funds for livelihood provision.
Create an environment in which the orphanage is able to gain revenue for salaries to be self-sustaining.
Purchase land to construct buildings to house orphans, a school and vocational training center.