Bethesda Counseling Center: Bethesda Kids Tent

REQUEST: $2,000 to support supplies for counseling and music healing sessions for internally displaced persons.

  • Population: 105,044,646

  • Languages: French (official), Lingala (lingua franca – trade language), Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba

  • Religions: Roman Catholic 29.9%, Protestant 26.7%, Kimbanguist 2.8%, other Christian 36.5%, Muslim 1.3%

  • Median Age: 16.7 years

At Congo Initiative, we have a vision to bring hope and restoration to eastern Congo through educating and equipping the next generation of faithful, ethical leaders and ministering through several community outreach centers.

Launched in 2016, Bethesda Counseling Center provides caring, loving and compassionate Christian counseling programs, including individual and group counseling; play therapy for children; grief and trauma services, counseling for victims of sexual violence; and training for local church leaders. Through the Center, we seek to bring restoration for wounded individuals and communities.

Over the past 130 years of Congolese history, corrupt leadership has abounded with roots in a complex web of colonial rule, dictatorship, civil war, prejudice, exploitation, and abuse. In the last few years various militias have continued to operate in North Kivu province, creating instability and generating increased anxiety among the local people. As a result, the number of internally displaced people (IDP), including children and adults, continues to increase each week in Beni, a city in North Kivu province (186 miles north of the capital of Goma and 46 miles west of the Ugandan border). Most of these families are fleeing violence happening in rural areas near Mutwanga and the Ruwenzori mountains in the east. Over 2,000 people have been killed since 2017 and local civil society has estimated that more than 50,000 families were displaced to Beni in 2021. Some of these families have found places to stay with relatives, while some are sleeping in schools or churches and others are sheltering in IDP camps around Beni town. All of these families are facing overwhelming mental health and humanitarian concerns, such as the lack of clean water and food.

Bethesda Counseling Center has been responding to some of the physical and emotional needs of children and families living in IDP camps. Approximately 60 children attend the Healing Music Trauma Care Program each week. These children typically do not sit with their relatives or neighbors, but with other kids off to one side. Unfortunately, they do not have any shelter over them to protect them from rain or hot sun. We would like to purchase two tents to protect the children from the elements and enable their own child-friendly and age-appropriate services while the adults participate in the Healing Music service.

Bethesda Kids Tent would create additional space to serve about 60 children every week. These portable tents are easily set up (and removed) near IDP camps in Beni and would allow IDP families to be offered the trauma care they need in the area they are located, while providing the children with the love, care and healing they so desperately need.

Music Healing Kid’s Program: IDP children finding joy and healing in music.

The Impact of the Bethesda Counseling Center

Image Copyright: Congo Initiative

Bethesda Group Counseling Session

Paulin’s Story

Paulin was only 15 when his parents were killed by rebels in the town of Eringeti. He was brought to Bethesda Counseling Center by his aunt because Paulin had become socially disengaged at school.

The Bethesda team provided trauma care to Paulin through expressive arts. He was able to talk about his pain in a safe place and started to feel more peace within himself. While at Bethesda, Paulin found other teenage boys with stories like his own. Today, he attends the Healing Music service, a weekly community outreach Bethesda program with his aunt and many other kids.

Recently, Paulin’s aunt shared “Paulin is now back at school and his ability to engage has improved. Thank you for all you do for him.”

There are many other children like Paulin in Beni who have witnessed atrocities and survived terrible things. Many of them suffer from PTSD and need intentional care and healing. By the grace of God, Bethesda Counseling Center is a local resource available to Paulin and others, to bring comfort and healing to some of these children and their families.













* Highlighted budget icons apply to this grant

Portable tent$600
Chairs (30)$300
Kids’ art therapy supplies$300
Food assistance


Logistics (energy/transportation)$200
Total Budget Requested:$2,000

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