Photo by  Jiro Ose

Photo by Jiro Ose

Our Mission

Congo Kids Initiative (CKI) supports children impacted by the decades-long war being fought in Eastern Congo. Working with local implementing partners, CKI provides financial and communications support for programs designed to allow children to enter adulthood with resources and tools.

How we started

CKI was started by a group of international journalists and their Congolese colleagues to support children impacted by the continuous conflict in Eastern Congo. In the midst of brutal fighting in 2003, the CKI team met the nuns running St. Kizito Orphanage and immediately formed a support network that has helped hundreds of children survive through ongoing instability.

Where we work

Our work has been focused in Bunia, Orientale Province, the site of extreme violence over the last decades as multiple armed groups battled for control over precious minerals and trade routes. Despite this conflict, our partners at St. Kizito Orphanage and other Congolese child protection networks have been able to provide support for children who have lost their families in the war.

What we do

Children who have lost their parents and communities to conflict need medical attention, nutrition, shelter, education, and love. CKI works with local partners who can provide these resources while navigating changing stability in the region. 

As Bunia has moved from a highly active conflict zones to an area of transitional stability, CKI is focusing on support that will allow St. Kizito orphanage and our other local partners to invest in sustainable systems and long term independence. Initiatives are chosen that address quality shelter, health care, and education.  Each category of development has individual targets that are evaluated annually. Local partners determine if these targets are realistic and sustainable and whether they leverage the CKI investment to the fullest extent. 


The Structure of Congo Kids Initiative

Congo Kids Initiative currently operates under the VII Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization

Board of Directors

Marcus Bleasdale
Jimmie Briggs
Lindsay Forslund
Bryan Mealer
Ann MacDonald
Leslie Thomas

Advisory Committee

Jonathan Burkholder
Michael Hrzic
David MacDonald
Maren Wickwire


Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo - Elyse Pifwa, Program Director
United States - CKI has no permanent staff in the United States, the Board of Directors and Advisory Committee perform the majority of the work.


Congo Kids Initiative
4012 Sinclair Avenue,
Austin, TX 78756