The weather in London, four years ago, was very similar to the weather we’re experiencing this autumn – an Indian summer, unseasonably warm and sunny.
A bizarre introduction, one may think, to my memorial tribute to our Congolese colleagues who were killed so needlessly four years ago on 4th October 2011, but the similarly of the weather to that terrible time has evoked strong, desperately sad memories.
The day I received the call from the office in DR Congo, I was on route to work. It is the same route I took today, under the same Autumnal sun, and while the passage of time has eased the rawness of grief, the tragedy itself remains an unbearable sorrow for all those who knew and loved our much missed colleagues, Eraste Rwatangabo, Kandoti Tite, Musore Fidele and Gifota Byondo.
Each were such instrumental, committed and dedicated development workers. Each played such pivotal roles in responding to the plight of children from the remote, conflict affected Plateau region of eastern DR Congo. Each were driven and determined to rewrite the future for children; to enable them, through education, to fulfil their potential, and to drive peace and development in their region.
And so, in honour of these inspirational men, as well as to the bravery of their families, to Congolese colleagues from EMI, and to the Plateau communities with whom Children in Crisis continues to work across the region, I make this tribute:
Eraste, Tite, Musore and Gifota, your passing has not gone in vain. The foundations you laid through your work have led to remarkable changes in the lives of children you were dedicated to supporting. Since your passing, we have continued to work with integrity and passion across the entirety of the Plateau, responding to the needs of children facing the toughest of times. As a result of your ambition, we have reached every primary school on the Plateau, and we will not rest until the rights of every child to receive an education of quality and worth are fulfilled.
We miss you. You are testament to the fact that a life well lived is not a life wasted.
At a time when global events place in sharp relief the plight of conflict-affected children, please continue to support Children in Crisis, and the work of our partners, in DR Congo, Burundi, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Sarah Rowse, Director of Programmes