Second largest country in Africa by area. Population of over 75 million. Over 200 ethnic groups. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Located in the south of Democratic Republic of Congo, Kolwezi is a land rich in precious minerals, including uranium, radium, cobalt and copper. The minerals extracted from the local mines are used to build computers, cellphones and electronic components. KOLWEZI
POLITICAL REALITIES Lack of government capacity & resources Entrenched corruption Extensive ‘mafia’ & illegal trade Repression of political opponents and outspoken civil society Human rights violations by public security Culture of impunity & legal failure
POVERTY Widespread poverty arising from spillover of ethnic conflict in Rwanda and civil war between governmental troops and rebel groups in Eastern Congo. The sustained levels of violence have caused massive infrastructural damage, internal displacement, and loss of property and lives.
More than 90% die from diseases – malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition aggravated by unsanitary and over-crowded living conditions that lack access to shelter, water, food and medicine. 47% of those deaths are children under five. Conflict for control of the mineral wealth is behind some of the most violent atrocities.
ARTISINAL MINING The mines in Kolwezi are sources for cobalt, copper and manganese. 90% of minerals of DRC are produced by artisanal miners Employs an estimated 2,000,000 people
Young children and women, some pregnant, work at the mines. 70% of children work in the polluted river waters. They are subjected to exploitation with unjust wages, long work hours, harsh and unsafe work conditions. Children are born with birth defects and malformations. Early onset of arthritis, rheumatic disorders, cancer, eye and respiratory infections.
Most children have ringworm and lice in their hair. Their hands and feet are ruined by labour…because they have to stand for hours in the water to clean the minerals.
THE CHILDREN Children abandoned due to family break down and inter-ethnic tensions. (45% of children reported that they came from a single parent/carer household. 5% of children were orphaned.) Exploitation of child labour (45% of children work in the mines.) Hunger and malnutrition (15% of children could not recall when they had their last meal) High levels of corporal punishment and violence ( 70% of children reported being slapped or having something thrown at them that could have hurt them, 35% of reported that this happened repeatedly in the last 12 month.) No Education (None of the children surveyed attended school.) Limited healthcare (66.6% of children did not go to the hospital because of the cost.) Abused due to cultural and traditional practices (High levels of abuse of children due to witchcraft.)
INFANT MORTALITY Congo has the world’s second-highest rate of infant mortality (after Chad). One in five children die before age 5. One in 30 mothers die at childbirth..
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN Women ages 6 to 80 are victims. 100% of women interviewed reported that they had experienced some form of violence and abuse from an intimate partner during their lifetime. 75% reported sexual violence from an intimate partner. 30% of women reported some form of sexual abuse before the age of 15. Assistance for victims almost non-existent.
At age 7 she was gang raped and left for dead in the forest. 7 days later, she was found with an injured leg which had to be amputated. Now 16 years of age, she is a 3 rd grader. Young people up to 21 years of age are still in primary school. A STUDENT’S EXPERIENCE
LA CENTRE RATTRAPAGE SCHOLAIRE COMMUNITY BASED PROJECTS Informal school for children – holistic formation, feeding programme and care centre. Community building - women’s groups, skills and leadership training. Advocacy
The Good Shepherd Sisters started an informal school where 600 students flock to each day. A feeding program offers one meal after class (their only meal each day) - it will expand when more funds are received. THE INFORMAL SCHOOL
Crowded classrooms with no chairs, no supplies. Most classrooms have no electricity. URGENT NEED FOR BETTER EQUIPMENT, FURNITURE AND FACILITIES THE CLASSROOM
THE SEWING CENTRE Located in the Cathedral parish garage To reach out to teenage girls who live on the streets. The Centre is severely short of equipment. It needs more equipment to effectively train the girls. Our teachers are paid US$70 per month while others are paid US$50 per month.
THE GIRLS TELL US THEIR STORIES My parents died in the mines. My foster family doesn’t take care of me. I have no school to go to. I eat sand to fill my stomach.
My family died in the war. I was left on the street. I never went to school. Now I am learning how to read and write. I am a prostitute. I want to learn how to sew. Please get us sewing machines so we can earn money. A GIRL’S APPEAL
THE WOMEN’S APPEAL “Please don’t leave us.” “This is the first time anyone has listened to us and told us our rights.”.
MAJOR FORMS OF VIOLENCE, ABUSE AND NEGLECT Hunger – 40% had not eaten in 2 days. Exploitation of labour – turn to prostitution Mental stress – overwhelmed by family problems, no hope of the future and felt alone. Limited education – 40% had never attended school. Social vulnerabilities – 25% come from single parent families; 35% live with extended family, and 5% taken in by a community member.
NETWORKING AND COLLABORATION Because the Police Chief sees that we are helping the people in our area, he has promised us protection. Violence erupts quickly in the area.
INTIMIDATION Rebels return to the area after fighting and hold themselves out as vigilantes and offer protection for money but …they also intimidate the people.
The River This river is used for bathing, washing clothes and bicycles. The water is contaminated thus people have to walk very far to get potable water.
LAND FOR THE MISSION The chief of the village, aware that we are helping the poor gave us a plot of farm land to start community farming and a fish hatchery for youth.
KOLWEZI DREAMS (with the help of the Mission Development Office, Sisters Funding Seekers, Friends and Benefactors) A FIVE YEAR PLAN Build : Permanent School Center for Women Health Care Services Center Community Garden Fish Hatchery Recreation Center Farm Other Projects to include Human Rights Advocacy programme, Income Generation programme
HEALTHCARE SERVICE FOR COMMUNITY Clinic Services and Pharmacy Personal Hygiene Health Education/Survey Counselling and Psychological Support
WOMEN/GIRLS DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION Literacy, numeracy training Skills training Education on Human Rights and the Law Empowerment on Economic Justice Job Creation Entrepreneurship Business Training
SOCIAL WELL-BEING THROUGH SPORTS AND CULTURE Engaging and Building Community Promoting Positive Ethnicity Promoting Values Promoting Culture Developing Talents
FISH HATCHERY AND FARM FOR YOUTHS Job Creation and Employment Food Supply and Security Alternative Economic Sustainability Economic Justice Entrepreneurship Promotion of Savings/ Micro Credit
LONG TERM MISSION 1.Develop a self-sustaining community that is less dependent on the local mining industry for basic needs. Action: Promote the development of community farming, fish farming and small-scale animal husbandry. The sisters have established a vocational training programme for 50 area women.
LONG TERM MISSION 2.Increase child protection. Action: Establish a viable primary education system that keeps children in the classrooms and out of the mines. Bring basic healthcare services to the region. The sisters have established an informal school and hopes to expand the informal school with better facilities, furniture and books.
LONG TERM MISSION 3.Decrease the incidence of gender discrimination and promote universal human rights including lobbying for strengthened laws to protect women from domestic abuse and rape. Action: To educate and raise community awareness that discrimination, violence against women, girls and children is a violation of human rights. Good Shepherd Sisters are engaged with NGO partners in advocating for the elimination of discrimination and violence and abuse of women and girls at national and international level.
LONG TERM MISSION 4.Strengthen community cohesion and demand greater accountability from the mining industry, which has historically neglected the people of the region. Action: Community Cohesion in artisinal mining community enable communities’ ability to resolve conflict and strengthen structures and social action is strengthened (Sports activities, Cultural events, civic activities). Increase understanding of the democratic process through community based civic and citizen education at local level (leadership training, education on rights and democratic processes).
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR BEST PRACTICE Increase capacity of Mission Partners for effective programming to ensure long term sustainability of the Good Shepherd Mission in the DRC
CAPACITY BUILDING FOR BEST PRACTICE Emphasis on Policy and Procedures as well as documenting best practice for learning and reliability across GSS programmes globally
Human Resources - Capacity and capability building - Training and development - Project management - Finance and administration Advocacy, networking, representation, relationship building CAPACITY BUILDING FOR BEST PRACTICE
OUTCOME Development of business plans for community based business development Building a farm co-operative including aquaculture. Development of business plans for programme sustainability: Creation of a Programme sustainability Fund: Farm produce (maize meal) Knitting and sewing enterprise
Small changes are beginning to make a difference and progress can be felt on the ground. With the assistance of the international donor community, real change is possible. To donate, please send cheques to: Good Shepherd Convent Restful Waters 25 Nallur Road Singapore 456650