FIVE Congolese orphans happily settled in Kyogle recently met the Salesian Brother who helped arrange their placement in Australia.
Australian Salesian Missions director Michael Lynch said he was pleased to see the young people – Labelle Mayangi, 20, and her four brothers Mbo and Mpia, both 17, Jeremy, 15, and Samuel, 12 – taking part in many community activities.
“Some of the boys have been excelling in sports including soccer,” he said.
“It’s also incredible to think they didn’t speak English when they first arrived in 2013.
“However, they did speak French and three local Congo languages.”
The young people’s first step towards their new life in Australia came through their aunt who is a Kyogle woman, Denise Ottley.
Her husband Ian contacted the Salesian Missions headquarters in Melbourne to help the orphans, who were still in the Congo.
Following Br Lynch’s contact with Salesian Father Aurelien Mukangwa, the priest in charge of the Congo’s Don Bosco Orphanage, Kinshasa, the young people were accepted into that orphanage.
With the children in a safe haven, Mr and Mrs Ottley then initiated plans to sponsor the children to Australia and the orphans eventually arrived last August.
Kyogle’s deputy mayor Janet Wilson was the unofficial leader of the welcoming party.
Since then Ms Wilson and others have supported the Ottleys in caring for the young Congolese family.
Br Lynch said he was encouraged to see how well they were settling in when he visited.
“They seem to be enjoying themselves very much,” he said.
“They told me everything is different in Australia … except the soccer.”