‘THERE ARE SO MANY OR­PHANS – WE HAD TO DO SOME­THING’

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - WILL HAY­WARD Re­porter will.hay­ward@waleson­line.co.uk

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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