2 Women Bring Awareness to Orphans in Congo

Monday, September 14th 2009, 5:32 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two metro women are trying to bring awareness to the plight of orphaned children in the Congo by using themselves as examples.

These women have adopted two children from the African nation and they may be the first in Oklahoma to adopt children from the Congo.

Now these parents are spending their days trying to get the children to learn a new way of life.

Uzima McFarland, 9, and 15-year-old Matungulu Mangrum spend their days being home-schooled by their new parents.

"I like my school work because it's a good school," said Uzima, who was adopted the Congo.

"I'm learning vocabulary. I'm learning math and I'm learning photography, biology," said Matungulu, who was also adopted from the Congo.

Former zoo workers Debi Mangrum and Mary McFarland went to Africa two years ago see how money they had been sending to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help build an orphanage was being spent.

In the process, they adopted two of the children.

"I could give a child a safe place to live, and I could at least feed them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which some of them aren't eating at all," said Mary McFarland.

Mary McFarland adopted Matungulu and Debi Mangrum adopted Uzima.

"She is a handful, but they're both amazing kids. She's such a blessing," Mangrum said.

The kids have seen a lot in their short lives, like thousands of other orphans in the Congo. Both lost parents to rebel fighting.

"Their parents are murdered by either the political rebels or by religious dissidents or they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Larry Cobb with Oklahoma City University.

McFarland and Mangrum have started a non-profit called The Well to help the innocent victims of violence in the Congo.

"They're worth our time and they're worth our effort to think about people that are in very difficult situations," McFarland said.

Both children say they still love their country and they hope to return someday to help the people there.

Learn more about the organization called The Well, the women started to help the children in the Congo.