We caught up with Congolese-born comedian Eddie Kadi upon his return from Kinshasa where he’d visited his family and also spent some time with our projects there.
Here he tells us about his first trip back to Congo since he left with his family as a young boy.
It had been eighteen years since I left, so going back there was such a surreal experience, it was almost like something out of a dream.
In Kinshasa I met a guy called Didjak Munya who is a War Child ambassador and Congolese musician. We went along with War Child’s night ambulance to check out what life was like for the street kids and child prostitutes.
Didjak had this amazing rapport with them, they seemed to really look up to him as a role model.
You’ve got kids sleeping next to a pile of faeces and a dead dog. People are dumping rubbish nearby and the kids are sifting through it because that’s where they’re gonna find their food for the night.
Suddenly their friend has just died in front of them and this is what they have to deal with every night. And there is no-one to help because everyone else is struggling to get by too.
It’s hard. It’s really hard.
It made me compare my realities to theirs, I could have been any one of those kids had I not come to the UK. I really didn’t know what to say because I was talking to girls that were selling their bodies from the age of eight and now they are 24 and they’ve got three kids to raise and they’ve got no choice but to be out there doing what they’re doing.
My parents were in the jeep following behind us and I actually couldn’t speak to my Dad until the next day. The girl was only a few years younger than me, I couldn’t bear to imagine my little sister having to live such a life.
What the ambulance does on a sanitation, hygiene and medical level is obviously great. But more importantly it is bringing them hope. Hope that there is someone out there who can help them find a different route. There’s nothing worse than when you are in that position where you feel that you don’t have any other options - because then you detach yourself from your emotions.
People in the UK need to care. If you care first then you are able to help. The reason I joined War Child was to be that bridge between the kids of Congo and the rest of the world.
If everyone puts their hands up and says ‘I want to help today’ then it makes a difference. It makes a massive difference.