Author: bcvccongo


Thank you, my Canadian friends, for your endless support and love, especially to NEW EDINBURGH NEWS community. You guys have been amazing to me and to my folks in DRC.

This October 2018, I had the privilege of sharing my story again with one of Ottawa’s local Newspapers, “New Edinburgh News”. Here is another chance for you to read about my passion and future plan.

If you would like to read this new article, just click on the link below and go to page 16.…/2018/10/NEN-2018.10-October-WE…

The Education System in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is plagued with low coverage and poor quality. The ongoing conflicts have interrupted the education of thousands of youth and children. Many of them have been separated from their families, experienced abuse and been involved in harmful and exploitative labour. It’s hard for hundreds of your girls, boys and children to pursue their dreams and this is due to lack of means. Some guardians can’t afford the tuition for them.

This project will help schools and Universities in the Fizi Zone to achieve some of their goals and will bring a BIG CHANGE  in a community where a student finishes his/her studies without reading a full textbook. I visited the Eastern part of DRC a couple of years ago, I didn’t see any libraries in Fizi Zone.  You cannot imagine a University without a library. Some students never put their feet in a Library. The education sector in Fizi needs your support.

Here are a couple of pictures I took in 2015 of the school I attended during my childhood.

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For those who want to donate here is the link:

Your donation will be highly appreciated!

In the News – Let’s not become tired of doing good

A couple of years back I had the opportunity to share my story with a local Newspaper in Ottawa, Canada. I’m so grateful for the kindness of my Canadian family and friends for their incredible love.

I am still working on the project of BVC . Anyone who is interested in supporting us morally or contributing financially to the success of the project, is more than welcome to do so and join our efforts for the good of others.

May we never grow tired of doing good,

If you’d like to read more about my story, you can find the newspaper article written about me on page 19 of this digital copy: 2015_DecNEN_web.pdf-1601508243


Golden Hearts respond to the Tears of Friends-in-need

Last year, I wrote a story about visiting the Mshimbakye and Nundu Clinics during my trip to eastern Congo. My blog-post described the local conditions and the realities on the ground in relation to health and education. As I wrote about my experience, I did not realize how deeply people would be touched by what I shared. I too returned from my trip with a deep sense of compassion and care for the people of that community. My trip included times of great sorrow and of great joy.

Our friends in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, face many challenges related to the vastly under-resourced health care system and paling local institutions. There continues to be a lack of access to adequate and quality care. This includes care for those who need it most, in a region troubled by persistent conflicts and exhaustive insecurities.


This past Sunday, just over one year following my return from that trip, I received a call from a friend in Denmark. This friend is the founder of an N.G.O located in Denmark. He told me about how the story I wrote had touched his heart and moved him to want to help the people of eastern D.R.Congo. The N.G.O  “Nif Foreningen”  has been able to help people in other countries, and they have the capacity to assist in the areas of health and education. He told me that my post, along with the pictures I shared, inspired them. They sent people from their N.G.O to go see for themselves the hospitals in that area, they also approached the Danish government to request support for their initiative. The Danish government responded positively and provided some assistance to the NGO’s project. After all their work, they were able to ship a container full of medical supplies including hospital beds, fridges for storing medicine, used-wheelchairs, and many other health-related goods and equipment.

I wanted to write this follow up post, to show my gratitude. I am in awe that people have responded with such care for others. I hope that we will continue to think of the people in the eastern DRC. This very generous act will not suffice to solve all of the issues in the local health care system, but it will do well to help people who are in need and the medical professionals seeking to provide them with care. Anyone who wishes to help can contact Baraka Victory Centre  about getting involved –

More stories to come…




I do understand that people sometimes differ from their customs. Some people grow up in well positioned families with a comfortable education, political and economic situation. If you are from that kind of family, whenever you need something, you get it easily. Those who are rich, are well taken care of.

My trip to Africa, in December 2015, inspired me and gave me the perspective to know that I should not complain about the life I have. I can see how far God has brought me. The war in D.R. Congo started in 1996, before that I was going to school. My dad would drop us off at school using his motorcycles, and we always had enough food to eat. But when I went back this December things had changed. Some people don’t even make one dollar per day. Their 7, 8 or 9 year old children all share the same small plate of food when (or if) they eat, and they are lucky if they eat more than once a day. We are so lucky here in Canada that we don’t even realize it. It is as if our prosperity has blinded us. People don’t lack food, we have ways of getting around, we have access to school and higher education, we have access to healthcare without paying. But we are still complaining, every day. I have realized that our nature as human beings is to always want more, especially in developed countries, where we already have more than the rest of the world.  The question is that, should we continue complaining about what we already have or should we be grateful?


Recently when I was in Baraka, I saw lots of kids eating off of the same plate. I couldn’t sleep that night. I got up early in the morning to go down to the lake and buy fish so that at least for one day the children could eat and be full and feel satisfied with the meal they had. While in Baraka, I also met with someone who I went to primary school with when I was a child. I couldn’t believe how hard the life had become for my friend.  I could barely recognize him, his clothes and they way his eyes were sunken and his face was so thin, you could see that life was hard. During my time in Bujumbura, I saw people sorting through piles of garbage, in search of their next meal. People in Canada love their pets as their own family, yet we fail to love one another. Shouldn’t we share what we have with other people?


The first day that I went to my parents home, my brother took me over to a house that I wasn’t familiar with. My parents live on the same plot of land as before the war but I could hardly recognize it from my childhood. I soon realized that the small house that my brother brought me to was where my dad and mom are now living. I asked my dad what had happened to our old house, the one that I grew up in, and he told me that everything was destroyed during the war and nothing remained of our old house. I wasn’t even able to find any markings of where the foundation used to lay. My mom built the small house where they now live with her own hands.


The reason I entitled this post “can’t complain” is because I lack nothing where I am now in Canada. I can find a job to work and help support myself. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I can get around the city that I live in without being scared because of gunfire. Even with the little that I have, I am happy to share it with others who are in need and are less fortunate than I am here in Canada. I have everything I need here and I can’t complain, I can’t complain, I can’t complain.

I’m so grateful and I thank ‘X‘ and ‘Y‘ who contributed to bringing me here to Canada and helping me to settle. I can’t complain.

More stories to come…

Trip to Africa, D.R. Congo

When I am working, it is easy to get caught up in the future, or thinking about things that have passed, or wondering what is going to happen the coming day or next week. But when I’m in my safari, travelling, it is all about the present moment. Right now, and no other time because no one knows what will happen next.  We cannot imagine what we will be seeing this time next week or whenever.
I was so excited to be home. All the time I was thinking  about meeting with my family members and preparing for the celebrations of being together again. I was wondering if I would be able to see all my friends and neighbours while I was there. The picture in my head was of our old house, where we were living before the war. I did not know what to expect of my parents new house but I knew that it would not look the same as I remembered. I couldn’t believe that I was standing at the border between Burundi and Congo, as a Canadian for the first time. I kept forgetting that I was carrying a Canadian passport. Everyone looked like me, but I came from that part of the world and my Canadian citizenship was still so new.

Travelling across the border into Congo, I enjoyed the bumpy car ride. The roads in eastern Congo are in poor condition, the potholes are many. Some of the bridges are not in use because they are old, broken and are not maintained or repaired. We crossed and drove through water at times instead of using the bridges that should have be operational.

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It had been so long since I was home that all the time while I was walking around I was calling out to friends and neighbours that I knew. I kept running into familiar faces, everywhere I went.

The main purpose of my trip to Congo was to visit with my family after many years apart. After that, I was spending time in the communities that Baraka Victory Centre is helping to assess needs and plan for projects and strategic cooperation in the Fizi Zone with other organizations, schools, hospitals and clinics.

During the visit with my family, I had a great time. They are facing many challenges and it was difficult for me to see the conditions that they are living in but it was amazing to have time together with them. I had the chance to visit with many of siblings and meet their children. I also met with my grandpa which was a great thing for me. I visited the grave of my late brother who was shot and spent time with his three children who are now living with my parents. Visiting his grave finally allowed me to accept that it was in fact my brother who was killed earlier in the year. Overall, the trip was short but it was still great to have that time with my family.


With BVC, I was struck by how hard life is for children in eastern Congo. Food is scarce and children are lucky if they are able to go to school with food in their bellies. Some are lucky to go to school at all since there are fees to attend school for children of all ages. Children are in need of basic things like shoes and clothes but for the most part they have to go without. In general, life is terribly hard for people living in eastern Congo, they go without basic necessities and lack opportunities to better their lives,  or better their children’s lives in the future.


I visited two clinics while in Congo. One in Mshimbakye and the other in Nundu, where I was born. The clinics have no equipment to treat patients. Patients who come for medical attention wait by sitting on the floor in the clinic, and even though they are the main medical service providers in the area, treatment can only be offered for very simple illnesses and ailments. People who have more serious illness or disease cannot receive care because the resources are too few. The little resources are stretched thin in an area with a large population and a complex history of conflict that has left people’s health and well being neglected. Women especially suffer due to a lack of equipment for maternity and post-natal care.

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At Mshimbakye, I met one of the lovely nurses who gave themselves to help the community regardless all challenges they are experiencing. Her testimony was very touching and the way she accept to work in a maternity unit where there is not enough equipment. She told me that they only have two pairs of scissors for the maternity centre. If they have two women who are giving birth at the same time, one has to wait until they are done with the other and they wash the scissors. Life is so hard for our moms, especially during labor.


Seeing how people are being treated in Congo was a shock for me. After being in Canada and seeing how the government uses resources to take care of the population, it was discouraging to see how people elsewhere have no options and must simply remain in need, without receiving any help. Some people have even lost hope for their life in the future.

During my trip, I attended the children’s Christmas Service at Mshimbakye Free Methodist Church. We shared a nice moment with the kids singing, dancing and shared candies with them after the service. I spent a fantastic moment with the kids. They were adorable and enjoyable to spend time with. Regardless of all thechallenges that the kids of Baraka are facing, they never stop smiling. For us to distribute candies to a big number of kids, we put all of them in a big room which was a former Free Methodist Church building located near Mshimbakye Primary School, and we were giving one candy per child and then we would release the child from the room. We shared 500 hundred pieces of candy but there was not enough so we had to send someone to go get more so that every child could get at least one piece of candy.


I attended primary school at Mshimbakye. My teacher was called Anza. She was a nice lady from Burundi and lived in Baraka for a long time as a refugee together with her family. It was an amazing and emotional moment to see the school that I went to during my childhood and especially my former classroom. Unfortunately, the school looked old and had not been repaired for ages.


With joy, seeing people from the community I grew up with, friends, teachers, I ended up visiting the Mshimbakye Secondary School as well. It was awesome to see and have that old memory of how our parents were paying for the school fees and buying all the equipment required for the school. While at the school, I spoke with a number of teachers about the challenges that they are facing, not being paid, no school supplies and the construction of some new classrooms that have not yet been finished. I took some pictures of the school construction and I promised the staff that I would share their struggle and needs with friends to see whether they can find an organization or an individual that can help them to finish their construction project. Seeing the importance of education, parents contributed a certain amount of money for building some new classrooms but it wasn’t enough to complete the project. Anyone who wants to help this community in finishing to build these classrooms, your support will be appreciated.


This maybe my  favourite thing about travelling. Leaving home, even if it is just for a few days, makes it pure and alive again when you return. You can see just how vibrant, how wonderful, how beautiful your hometown is no matter any change.

For anyone who would like to contact me, I can be reached at 

Enjoy the read!



Trip to Africa, Bujumbura!

Bujumbura Burundi


In early December, 2015 I traveled to Bujumbura, Burundi where I used to study before coming to Canada. I was able to stay on the campus of my former university – Hope Africa University and was happy to meet with many old friends during my time there. My 3 brothers who are living in Bujumbura as refugees met me at the airport, it was exciting to reunite with them and spend time together after many difficult years apart. Other family members crossed the border from Congo into Burundi and spent a number of days visiting with me during my first week. My very first visitor in Bujumbura can be seen below, we didn’t spend much time together but we still had fun.

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During my time at Hope Africa University, I visited the radio station where I worked as a student and spent time touring around the university grounds that I used to call home.

I also had the chance to visit with a student that Baraka Victory Centre is sponsoring to attend university and met with a girl from Tanzania who is in need of sponsorship following the death of her father. I found her standing outside of a classroom and she explained that she hadn’t been able to pay her school fees because her father had passed away. It wasn’t a part of my original plan while I was there but I felt in my heart to try and help her so that she could take the exams and have a chance to continue with her studies. I did what I could and was able to pay for half of her tuition and she was able to write the exams. I was able to speak with many students and hear about the many challenges they are facing.

The tuition fees, though they are modest compared to Canadian universities, are difficult to cover in an area where unemployment and poverty are so rampant. School is a way for people to better their lives and escape from poverty, but poverty puts up a good fight to try and keep them trapped in the cycle. Poverty in Bujumbura corresponds to infrequent and inconsistent income, in Canada poverty can mean that you struggle to ‘make ends meet’ but most of the population generally has a safe place to stay and in the very least some food to eat. In Bujumbura poverty is more often people living on approximately $1-$2 per day, food is not affordable at this income level so you may be considered lucky if you are able to eat once per day, many others cannot afford to do even that.

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The purpose of this post is not to get too far into the current political situation in Burundi, however, there were a number of occasions where I spent whole days trapped inside the house where I was staying. It had been a number of years since I had reason to fear for my life because of armed conflict happening around me. I spent days inside without food and without any idea of when the streets of Bujumbura would calm again, I experienced the daily terror that people are living through in Bujumbura. My family has been in Burundi for a number of years so I have been aware of the troubles, the political tension and armed conflict has be ongoing for the last year and this trip gave me an inside view on the challenges and the fear they face, daily. Simple tasks like buying food become almost impossible at times. When people go to work in the morning, they can’t be sure whether or not they will be able to return home later in the day. Some days seem quiet, but the situation can change quickly from ok to bad, and from bad to worse. There are barriers and obstacles for completing even the most simple tasks and aspects of life in Bujumbura.

My thoughts, my heart, and my prayers are with the people of Bujumbura and the neighbourhoods that are under attack. It is a beautiful country. People deserve the dignity and security that peace provides.

More stories to come…

New Life in a New Land

Beginning my New Life as a Newcomer to Canada

When I first arrived in Canada, everything was new to me. It wasn’t easy as a newcomer to learn the new way of life. I had jet-lag for over a month, so I was awake while other people were sleeping. Learning how to use things like the bus system and other different services was important but was not always easy for me. I had to apply for all my documents like health card, I had to get a bank account. And I went to the dentist for the first time ever in my life. Life in Canada was safe and new but there were many things I had to sort out upon arrival. I came in the fall and was impressed with all the fall colours, but in a few short days all the leaves had died and the trees were bare.

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My first winter in Canada came fast. I enjoyed helping people with shoveling the snow from their driveways and sidewalks.

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In my first few months in Canada, I volunteered at Immanuel Christian School in Oshawa. My English accent made it difficult at times to communicate with people. From there, I then got my first job in Canada. After my first year of resettlement in Oshawa, I moved to Ottawa to pursue higher education at the University of Ottawa. While in Ottawa, I continued the process of trying to get settled in Canada and was able to apply for Canadian citizenship. On October 19th,  2015 I became a Canadian citizen.

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After being in Canada for a few years and learning about life here, I found that this country is blessed with opportunities. Knowing the many challenges that people were facing back home, I wanted to take the opportunity of being in Canada and use my good fortune of being here as a way to give back to the impoverished community where I came from. In January of 2015, I started Baraka Victory Centre, a non-governmental organization with philanthropic and humanitarian goals. We are currently collecting donations for severely under-resourced communities. We are also helping a number of young adults to better their lives in the future by receiving a university education through our sponsorship program.

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This December, I returned to Africa for my first tour with Baraka Victory Centre, where I was able to see the community where I lived as a child. It was my first time being back home in 11 years and I was happy to see family and friends. I had not met with for many years and spent lots of time catching up.

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I was reminded of memories from my childhood and saw many familiar places.

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At the same time, it was difficult to see how different things were. Some places that used to be beautifully maintained and in use within the community had become run down. The community seemed to be struggling much more than before war times. I was both happy to be there and sad to see how difficult the life had become, for the community that I love.

You can read more about me becoming a Canadian citizen if you follow the link below, where a local newspaper did a story on my citizenship. The article can be found on page 19.

New Edinburgh News – December 2015

Click to access 2015_DecNEN_web.pdf


More stories to come…


My journey!

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My name is John Dunia, originally from Congo, now a Canadian. I am the sixth child of Reverend and Pastor Dunia and Amnazo.

I have a musical ear. I enjoy singing and playing piano, accordion, percussion and any stringed instrument, recently taking up the guitar. I also love swimming!

There are eleven children in my family, six boys and five girls.

The Great Lakes Region in Africa has undergone many problems over the last number of decades, which have resulted in wars and armed conflicts. People all over the world are aware of the problems that Congolese are facing up to now.

Some Congolese have run away from their country toward the neighbouring countries, where they live as refugees under the UNHCR mandate. In 1996, my family and I fled to Tanzania, where we stayed as refugees for 7 years. After a certain period of time, the country appeared to be peaceful. So my family and I decided to go back home to help in rebuilding the country after my father was elected as Assistant Representative of Free Methodist Church in Congo while he was still living in the Refugee Camp. Unfortunately, not much could be accomplished since various groups of people would kill each other for nonsense. People were killed often by their neighbours, who, according to me, were supposed to take care of them and live in harmony.

Suddenly in 2004 war prevailed again in BUKAVU. It was an awful time of bloodshed. I decided to flee my country and go to Burundi where I reclaimed refugee status, something that I did not think would happen again.

In Burundi, my life was a bit more secure as a refugee under the UNHCR mandate. I reported to the UNHCR the situation of the war in DR Congo which caused me to flee, and many people were killed. The conflict caused so much human tragedy and I was threatened on multiple occasions. Up to now, victims of the conflict are visible in eastern DR Congo. Therefore, much still needs to be done to alleviate the suffering. Large portions of the population from eastern DR Congo live in hatred and fear due to these events. Moreover, it is helpful to know that Bujumbura, where I was living, is not very far from Congo, thus, quite often I continued to face many threats to my life during that time. I had to learn how to protect myself and escape from harm because of all the troubles.

During that long period of sufferings, I met Paul Stevenson through Laurie Hughes in Burundi, who came to teach at my university and we became friends. I didn’t know that, through him, I would find my peaceful place, Canada. He first tried to help me immigrate to USA, but the process was not successful. Paul did what he could and got in touch with the FreeWay Free Methodist Church in order to help me find a peaceful place to  live. The FreeWay FMC accepted to sponsor me and my friend. While waiting for the approval of my Canadian VISA, I tried to leave Burundi and go to Kenya, following the continued threats that I was facing to my life, but it was hard for me to cross the border for unknown reasons.


I then went to Uganda, where I volunteered for one month and later shifted to Kenya in order to wait for the Canadian Embassy to call us for the interview. I lived in Kenya for 2 years and while I was there, I was involved in the creation of an NGO called Christ’s Victory Centre.


For more information about CVC, you can take a look at:
254840_169847403077286_2223411_nI also taught in a primary school in Kenya,which helped me to gain an income and run the NGO. With the little I was making, I was able to support my living expenses and contribute to the orphans at Christ’s Victory Centre. I taught French and Computer skills to children from ages 4-16. I patiently waited and my application was approved in 2011. I left Kenya on 12 October, 2011 and landed in Canada on 13 October, 2011.


More stories to come…