Malayi works with children who have escaped forced labor in the mines, many of the children living on the streets where he finds them. Some 20,000 children live on the streets of Kinshasa alone.
The Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception have started an educational center in the city, which Fr. Malayi described, referencing rescued children, as “a home where they can learn a trade that ensures them a future away from the mines and to never return to the streets.”
“We can't solve all the problems, but we thank God for every one of the children we can rescue. It's a true miracle that is made possible thanks to people of goodwill,” Malayi said.
The priest recounted one boy he encountered in his ministry, who had escaped the mines and fled hundreds of miles.
Starving and grief-stricken, the boy needed someone to listen to him. “After giving him something to eat, he told me about his life,” Milayi recalled.
The boy said that his family had been kidnapped from their house by militiamen, who took them to the forest and told them they must choose between death and mining coltan 13 hours a day.
The family chose the mines, Fr. Milayi recalled the boy’s narrative and added, “They worked 650 feet below the surface taking out 15 sacks of coltan a day, for which they received two dollars at the end of the month.”
When riots broke out against the militias, they raped and killed the boy’s mother and two teenage sisters. They also killed his father.
“He managed to escape. But he told me amid tears: 'I'm not afraid of death, I'm a corpse and a corpse does not fear death’,” the priest said.
At the educational center, the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception teach the children “to take care of each other,” Fr. Malayi said.