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Gilbert Munda

Democratic Republic of Congo , Class of 2014

Gilbert Munda
Democratic Republic of Congo

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A former orphan himself, Gilbert Munda cares for children in vulnerable situations, specializing in those coming out of labor in armed conflicts.

Mr. Munda leads an organization called the Action Center for Youth and Vulnerable Children (CAJED). He cares deeply for the children his organization watches over and to which they provide support, as a former orphan and a father of a large family. The NGO was first established in 1992 in order to provide care, residential support, and services to children in vulnerable situations prior to attempting to reunify them with their families or care providers. They specialized in children who had been used in armed conflicts, or child soldiers, which has been a problem specifically in the war-torn nation in which they work. Partnering with UNICEF since 2004, CAJED runs a residential shelter in which they provide a variety of support and services including counseling, psychological support, recreational activities for the children to have fun, educational programs, and eventually, and hopefully, reunification with their families. More recently, in 2011, CAJED spearheaded a coalition of organizations that work with armed conflict groups in the DRC, and with children, and have helped over 9,000 children through that coalition. Mr. Munda and CAJED are first response; they are on the ground to welcome children who have been released from armed groups as soon as they become aware of them. Risking his own life, and working through and around incredibly dangerous situations, Mr. Munda continues to help children leave a life of war and slavery, and head towards a path of freedom and rehabilitation. 

In the 2014 TIP Report, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was listed as a Tier 3 Country. It is a source, destination, and transit country for both sex trafficking and forced labor. Much trafficking occurs internally, and the trafficking of children for use in armed conflict is still rampant. In 2013, over 1,000 children were either recruited or released from armed groups. Forced labor is common in mining throughout the country as well. The government needs to improve in all areas, including victim assistance, prosecution, and victim identification. 


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