Butoke update, October 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In Congo, we are in the midst of the “Season of the witches,” so people suffer hunger and many diseases and death is all around especially of children and elderly.
2011 should be an election year and politicians are preparing. The Roman Catholic church is said to provide them with spiritual advisors… In 2011, NGOs like Butoke that are not church linked will need to be extremely careful not to be confused with political parties.
There are rumours that the Military court will reopen the case of Simon Kimbangu, pointing to the lack of recognition of human rights in 1921 (most Belgians would agree) but the repetition of the case may wake up xenophobic passions.
Congo TV shows mass meeting to exorcise evil spirits and women and girls wrangle in unbelievable contortions, while shouting and crying their anxiety and pain.
Butoke has faced major threats in the last six months, but we feel new momentum. We take strength in the fact that Butoke has gained national recognition officially and is now entitled to tax exemption and that in the USA «Friends of Butoke» is about at the same point and our English friends are getting formalized and planing their actions. So we are all set for action
As before, RDC needs many activities that favor survival and quality of life, some of which can be done while generating funds. This is not only important for sustainability but also to be able to serve as a local model for replication by other NGOs.
We started the transition in April and our support by «Friends of Butoke» has been enthusiastic and helpful although it is not yet formalized. So while we had planned to maintain a nucleus of prior activities it was very hard to do so, also because UNICEF had left unpaid 4 months of activities on their behalf which left us debt ridden, but they have just paid for December 2009 and January 2010.
We think it is important, in order to gain momentum, that we have a dialogue on what each group of «Friends» would like to do through Butoke, Butoke has easy access to competences in the fields of agriculture, nutrition, education, medicine, and computer science. We who are in Congo can tell you whether your preferred activities are feasible, especially in 2011; at what investment cost; what likely local utility these activities can have for quality of life or survival; and whether we estimate it can be self sustaining financially.
For Butoke, support of the orphanage is a must. So far, it is largely dependent on Cecile’s pension. Our first attempt at regular fundraising for that purpose shows that under the current worldwide crisis, this maybe not feasible. So we need local income generation through activities that are self supporting and generate a surplus.
We realized we needed to develop a different strategy notably to select some new base activities, helping people while generating funds. We have discussed some priorities for base activities that can be sustained by Butoke or the communities while waiting for the formalization of a human development project with ACDI or other donor and be part of the continuing concern before, during and after the project.
Given the variety of needs and the relatively modest investments we expect from «Friends of Butoke», our selected priorities are:
· proximity medicine in Kananga (started based on a local gift of building and equipment valued at about $20,000), if possible in Luiza and Tshikaji (minimum investment $ 2000 to start a clinic);
· a popular pharmacy at a suburb of Kinshasa (started on gifts from Australia of USD 1500), and if possible to be done in Tshikaji, Kananga et Luiza;
· a granary for the orphanage and if possible for the community in Tshikaji (this would require a loan or a gift of minimal USD 15000 before 1st December but would save $4000 to $6000 over 2011);
· A cyber at Masina suburb of Kinshasa (catering to the middle and low class without any internet connection), which would require modification building $1000, internet, and five computers.
To satisfy as many needs here as possible and seize opportunities to give impulse to meaningful development activities while supporting the orphans and indigents, we invite each one of the national «Friends of Butoke», to formulate a focus for fundraising. The focus could be among the above priorities or the orphanage or instead some other activity you think might be more understood as very useful and on which we have formed an agreement.
Please let us know how you feel about this, the Lord invites us all together to bring light in the current darkness
In His love
Jean and Cecile
Friends of Butoke, Inc. is now incorporated and application has been made for 501-c-3 status in the USA. Until it is granted, contributions in the USA can be made payable to Maryland Presbyterian Church, 1105 Providence Rd., Baltimore, MD, 21286, USA, marked “for Butoke.” These contributions may be tax deductible in the USA.
For those not interested in a USA tax deduction, contributions can be made payable to H. Branch Warfield, 13801 York Rd., V-3, Cockeysville, MD. 21030, marked “for Butoke.”
Contributions to Butoke in Canada can be sent through World Hope Canada, Box 21082, RPO Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON K1S 5N1
Contributions in the United Kingdom can be sent through Paul Evans, 5 Westville Ave., Illkley, LS29 9AH, United Kingdom.