BVES, Le Bureau pour le Volontariat au service de l’Enfance et de la Santé, is a non-profit organization formed in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire) on the 6th of March 1992 by a group of volunteers working for the health, education and protection of children (predominantly doctors, lawyers, sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists).
This multidisciplinary group was motivated to come together by the sole desire to contribute to the promotion, protection and defence of children, in particular children who are victims of economic and social marginalization as well as armed conflicts (including street children, child workers, children without guardians, children in prison and child soldiers).
From the founding of BVES in 1992, up until today:
- More than 130 000 children (54,000 girls, 42.0%) have been helped, including street children, servant girls, war orphans and victims of sexual exploitation.
- More than 8 000 child soldiers (500 girls, 6%) have been withdrawn from armed groups or from the armed forces.
- More than 6 000 children without guardians (6 500 girls, 60%) have been taken into care.
- More than 49 000 children (32 000 girls, 66%) who were under- or un-educated have been gone back into formal or informal education.
Working in collaboration with UNICEF, Amnesty International and other leading NGOs in the field of human rights and children’s issues with the aim turning existing international legal instruments concerning the rights and protection of children into concrete action, BVES gained important experience on the ground and in difficult conditions. Through concrete action and an intensified appeal for the cause of children, BVES has become one of the leading Congolese humanitarian NGOs fighting to defend children’s rights in the east of the DRC.