Today, 4th October 2016, is the fifth anniversary of the massacre of our four dear colleagues, Eraste, Tite, Musore, and Gifota.

Their vehicle was attacked by a notorious rebel group, on the way our schools programme on the High Plateau, DR Congo, three others died alongside them. The attack was ethnically motivated.

Eraste, Tite, Musore, and Gifota were passionate agents of peace and education. Our friends from EMI, our Congolese partner organisation, put it best:

They walked the mountains in all weathers, across all terrains. They crossed major rivers and swamps, climbed steep mountains, for all children of different tribal communities to live in peace and have access to quality education.

I was deeply privileged to have shared their company across those mountains, and marveled at their love and deep commitment to children on the Plateau. The memories of the killings are still deeply painful for friends, widows, children and colleagues. To them we extend our prayers and sympathy.

Gifota & Tite

But now looking back five years through the sadness I feel an emotion bordering on joy. The community heeded the plea from Eraste’s children at their father’s funeral not to give way to hatred, but to carry on his work to build peace and educational opportunity for all children on the Plateau. Our work with EMI has deepened and spread, with more schools built, and more children getting better education with better support from their parents.

EMI colleagues have worked through that terrible time and are working with the same courage, love, humour and sheer expertise that we remember from those who died on the 4th of October five years ago. So many people, organisations and supporters helped us at that time. On this important anniversary I want to say thank you for the sympathy, understanding, voluntary efforts and generosity. It continues to be deeply inspiring and humbling.

I want to say thank you to the communities on the High Plateau and colleagues in EMI for your hard work and courage. We will continue to walk alongside you until our shared vision is achieved. I want to say thank you to all of our supporters who make this possible.