Father of seven wants to ensure human dignity

Marius Ngabas, a Project Manager working in Central African Republic has had to experience first-hand what a humanitarian crisis truly is.

At the end of 2013, the Séléka and Anti-balaka forces widened their attacks on civilians in Bangui, the capital of CAR. Houses were burned down and people were being dragged out and killed on their way to work or school. One of the hot spots of violence was Bangui airport, which Ngabas, 37, lived close to.

A hard decision had to be made. He fled to a nearby Lutheran church with his seven children. Hundreds of people from the area sought shelter from the church.

The months leading to the end of the year were especially hard for Ngabas, a single parent, and his family.

“We received just one meal a day, and never breakfast”, he says.

Ngabas started working for Finn Church Aid a year ago; a few months later than planned due to the violence.

For Ngabas, FCA seemed like an interesting place to work, because he knew FCA works for improving the educational opportunities of children and youth.

“The right to education belongs to every child, in times of peace and also in crisis. Now I can offer people a possibility to learn. That is why each day is rewarding at FCA”, he says.

As a Project Manager, he is in charge of all educational programmes in the Bouar region in western Central African Republic. He manages, for example, repair work on the city’s schools. The schools repaired by FCA in Bouar are attended by over 3000 students.

Ngabas’ 16-year-old daughter studies in Togo, where she is in upper secondary school. His other children, four boys and three-year-old twin daughters, are still living at home.

Ngabas sees CAR’s near future as very difficult. He still hopes to see the day his children get to live in a peaceful country.

“History has shown that for example Ruanda has managed to recover from genocide and stop the ethnic disintegration of the country.”

“The conflict in Central African Republic can also be stopped. It will happen, if everyone puts down their guns.  Everyone has to acknowledge that all life is sacred, no-one is above the law and everyone has the right to belong to the community. My dream is to be one of those who help in securing human dignity each and every day.”

Text: Satu Helin