It’s been a year since Chantal buried her eight-year-old son. “I lost my mind that day,” says the 46-year-old, wiping tears from her cheeks.
Curled on the porch outside her small house in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern town of Goma, Chantal says she’ll never forget the day when a man, wearing a hat that covered his face, delivered a letter saying that her son Charles had been kidnapped.
“They told me if I ever wanted to see my son again I had to call this number,” the mother of eight recalls.
Over the course of a week, the family was told to send varying amounts of money directly to the kidnappers if they wanted to see Charles again.
“That week was so devastating, thinking about how he was doing and the conditions he was living in,” she says. Helped by friends and neighbours, Chantal and her husband cobbled together roughly $1,000 (£755), which they sent to the kidnappers in small amounts using mobile cash transfers.