Around the world, people living in poverty show strength and resilience in the face of often terrible odds. Today this is nowhere more true than in the Central African Republic, where ATD Fourth World has a team in the capital city Bangui, living alongside families in the midst of tremendous turmoil.
Since March, the Central African Republic has been torn apart by a string of violence between different religious communities that many outside observers have begun to call genocide. More than half of the population of Bangui have fled their homes, the greatest number seeking refuge at the airport, where foreign soldiers and humanitarian aid are located.
And yet what has been most striking to our team in Bangui has been the tremendous acts of solidarity and friendship that help to build peace and promise a brighter future for all.
Neighbors loan clothing to one another so that they will not be easily recognized as Muslim or Christian by the violent mobs roaming the city.
Strangers help one another cross the river to safety, putting their own lives at risk to save another.
A young girl speaks to an angry crowd and saves the life of her aunt, hiding in the room next door.
Our team is working now to run street libraries among children at the refugee camp, using the children’s artwork to decorate the emergency hospital built by Doctors Without Borders, and to support as many of the families they know as they possibly can.
Shortly after the most recent string of violence began, friends of ATD Fourth World began to arrive at the team’s home in Bangui. As one woman told our Volunteers there: “In all the things that are happening in our country, we are not far from ATD Fourth World. Why? Because we know that if we want to live in peace, we need to be together, […]to exchange ideas and try to find what we need to do for peace to return to our country, and to find out what, as the ATD Fourth World Movement, we can do to make this happen.”
Through it all, the courageous acts of every day citizens give great hope for peace and a stable future.
To learn more about the situation in the Central African Republic, you can visit the international ATD Fourth World website.