‘THERE ARE SO MANY ORPHANS – WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING’
AFATHER who fled the horrors of wars which killed millions of people has ploughed thousands of pounds of his own money into setting up an orphanage to help hundreds of children in his native land.
Kalamba Donatien Kazadi, whose friends call him Donald, came to Cardiff 18 years ago. The 40-year-old was fleeing conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Upon his arrival in the Welsh capital he started a university course studying education.
“I came here seeking asylum,” he said. “There are so many opportunities here.
“The city wasn’t as big as it is now – the city has changed completely.
“People were so welcoming when I arrived. I went to university and my first job was in the Welsh Assembly in the Department of Education.”
After building their new life here Kalamba and his wife Marie went back to visit their old home in the DRC in 2009.
“We were building a house as somewhere to stay when we visited family and friends but there are so many orphans that we had to do something to help and so we turned it into their home,” he said.
It’s estimated that around six million people have been killed in the DRC since 1996 in brutal wars that have left many children without adults to look after them.
Kalamba said: “My country has lost a lot of people, seven or eight million as a result of war. This has left so many ch i ldren.
“So many boys become soldiers and girls are prey to the sex trade – it is devastating to see and we knew we had to do something.”
The father of four, who works with the homeless and refugees at Cardiff council, opted to take out a loan to turn their home into an orphanage.
Kalamba took a loan of £17,000 with Cardiff and Vale Credit Union to finish building the orphanage, which is home to around 30 children at any one time.
Having repaid the £17,000, Kalamba has since borrowed another £6,000 to buy a truck for the orphanage, while he also donates clothes and pays to educate the children in his and Marie’s care.
Kalamba and his wife were one of six recipients of a Credit Unions of Wales Award on October 19.
Leanne Herberg, the chief executive of Cardiff and Vale Credit Union, said: “The theme of International Credit Union Day is ‘Dreams thrive here’ and it is hard to imagine a couple who sum this up more than Mr and Mrs Kazadi.
“They have personally helped set 195 children on the path to building their own dreams and are truly an inspiration. We are proud that we have been
able to help.”
Some of the orphans being helped by Kalamba Donatien Kazadi and his wife Marie
Kalamba Donatien Kazadi with his Credit Unions of Wales Award
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