How one girl became a hero

“What I gained from Search made me the person I am today. Search helped me at the moment I really needed it. Many who experienced the same situation as me lost their stability forever.”

Pascaline’s family didn’t have much money. But when she was eight, the first of two wars broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). War unleashed a merciless poverty she had never imagined.

“Back then, it was very, very difficult. Sometimes we would go one or two days without eating. We couldn’t go to school. We decided to go back to where my father’s family was from. We walked 375 miles by foot.”

But the violence was just as deadly in the rural area. Despite the distance, they turned around to flee back home.

“Just as we made it back home, the second war broke out. Another family trying to escape the war was squatting in our house. We ended up living with them for two years.

“I was too young to understand things,” Pascaline remembers. “I was just angry. I felt that my country was the victim of profound injustice.”

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When Pascaline was 15, angry, and hopeless, we invited her to become a reporter on our youth radio show Sisi Watoto (We the Children). “I used to go to rural areas and reach out to children, youth, and others involved in the conflicts. I would interview them and record their views. Back in the studio, we cut it together into a show then broadcast it,” Pascaline explains.

“For the first time, I felt that I was part of the solution. I finally didn’t feel like a victim anymore.”

Pascaline reported for Sisi Watoto for three years and then became a mentor to younger members.

“I learned to forgive, to be patient. I learned to see myself as an agent of positive change instead of burning things down or making them worse. I started applying it to myself every day in my family, my work, and in every group I was a part of.

“13 years later, I’m still grateful for everything I got from Search,” Pascaline beams. “It changed my whole life. I feel I owe a big debt to my community. As my legacy, I started my non-profit to help young people, to give back. I know my determination to help others came from what I learned at Search.”

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Today, Pascaline runs her own non-profit. It empowers young people with skills they couldn’t learn because of the war. She’s also the first vice president of the National Youth Council in the Ministry of Youth. What’s more, Pascaline advocates for her community through her position in the Prime Minister’s office.

Pascaline is changing her country’s future. At 28 years old, she’s only just begun. For just $11.80 a month, you can transform a child’s life, from victim to hero.

Pascaline says the next generation still faces urgent needs: “Too many children became orphans. Others were forced to join armed groups. Many people are still separated from their families.” When war ends, the aid often moves on to the next hot spot. But the country remains incredibly vulnerable to relapse. Because of you, Search remains, even after others move on. We make a long-term commitment. Your long-term support makes this possible.