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KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - JULY 6: Esther Yandakwa (l), age 9, watches as her friend Betty Nginamawu (c), age 14, dance among friends at a yearly summer camp run by Orper, a local NGO on July 6, 2006 in N Djili outside Kinshasa, Congo, DRC. The NGO has several shelters for homeless boys and girls in Kinshasa and has a program that reunites children with their families. The capital has a growing problem with children displaced by war, poverty and many has been rejected by their families and forced on the streets. About 15,000 children are estimated to live on the streets of Kinshasa. About fifty girls got to spend a week relaxing, playing, swimming eating three meals a day. Most important of all, it took them off the hard streets of Kinshasa, where they are often abused, take drugs and forced into prostitution. Esther has lived on the streets for a few years and run away from her family. She abuse drugs, alcohol and works as prostitute. Congo, DRC is in ruins after forty years of mismanagement by the corrupt dictator and former president Mobuto Sese Seko. He fled the country in 1997 and a civil war started. The country is planning to hold general elections by July 2006, the first democratic elections in forty years. (Photo by Per-Anders Pettersson)
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