An 11-year-old girl in South Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo, known as Congo, was a popular figure among her peers.
She was one of the first to speak English, was the only girl in her village to attend school and had a talent for dancing.
She would also have loved to play football with her peers, the young girl told Reuters in a recent interview.
But she also had a story to tell.
“I just wanted to help other people and have a positive influence,” said the girl, who did not want to give her last name because she feared reprisals.
“And then I got involved in this big fight for freedom,” the girl said, as she was filmed at the local village of Sibirani, about 100 km (62 miles) west of the capital, Kinshasa.
The girl has spent more than a decade helping children in her rural village of Nyanza, in the east of the country.
“My goal is to help as many people as possible.
And the more people I can help, the more freedom I can give.”
Nyanja is one of more than 100 villages that were designated as “free zones” by the Congolese government in March 2017 to allow children to stay away from armed groups.
Children are now allowed to go out to school and are not forced to follow the strict rules of a school that is located in a village.
But Nyanda has also seen a rise in the number of children in need of urgent medical attention, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
It has registered at least 10 cases of suspected polio cases among children aged under 15 in the area since the beginning of the year.
Children have been seen sitting on the street in their underwear, wearing shorts, as they wait for help.
In one village, there were two children in their 20s and 20s who were having a seizure, according the UNICEF.
“The children were very scared, and the children were in tears,” said Zola Nwali, a UNICEf spokesperson in Kinshaso.
“We tried to calm them down, but they were just saying they couldn’t breathe.”
At least five children have died since April 2016, the latest count that was published in October, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said.
The UN has also recorded a rise of about 40 cases in the last two months.
“What is shocking is that so many children are dying and dying and going untreated,” said WHO’s Dr. Richard Wilson.
“It’s not just in Kinyarwanda and DRC, it’s across the world.”
In a bid to ease the humanitarian crisis, the Conglomerate government has been working to expand the number and number of schools, clinics and other services that it deems “essential” to the local community.
But the UN and many local governments say that the expansion of these services, which is a long-term goal of the Congolee government, has been slow.
“A lot of this is done in the name of promoting development and giving people opportunities,” Wilson said.
“But the main focus is the provision of a safe environment, which the local people can not access.”
The government also has tried to help children through the UN agency CARE.
But in the months following the outbreak of the disease, the government has also increased restrictions on access to health care and increased the price of health care.
The price of medical treatment has skyrocketed by as much as 50 percent since April.
UNICEFs chief economist and UNICEFE president David Bellamy said that the WHO has called for a complete ban on the sale of vaccines, but he said the government’s plan to introduce a price cap for vaccines is unlikely to be implemented.
The Congolene government also says it is working to increase vaccination coverage in the region, but critics have called the plans a giveaway to armed groups in the north.
“This is a humanitarian crisis,” Bellamy told Reuters.
“There is no question of the government doing this in a humanitarian way.
They are making decisions in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation.”
But critics say the government is also exploiting the situation.
“If they really want to address the health crisis, they should start vaccinating children.
They should not be selling them,” said Nwili.
“Children are not getting vaccinated.
Children need to be protected from the violence that has already happened.”
With reporting by Reuters, Reuters Africa Bureau, AFP, Reuters West Africa and the BBC.