Mwendo Congo Community Gathering

Vision:  

To promote community development in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through health work, education, and relationship building between the people of the U.S. and the DRC.

Objectives:

  • Provide financial assistance for education and job skill development of Congolese youth with our local partners in the DRC
  • Facilitate access to health care for the communities of South Idjwi Island, with special programs for women and children
  • Organize exchanges between the USA and the DRC to raise awareness and build solidarity

Context:

The DRC is in the middle of a long political and economic crisis caused by repeated wars and armed conflicts.  The principal victims of this violence and instability have been women and children.  In spite of the DRC’s ratification of the UN Conventions on Women’s and Children’s Rights, women have been and continue to be raped and sexually exploited by militias, while children are recruited to fight as soldiers.  Since the conflict began in 1996 more than 6 million people have died, more than 400,000 women and girls have been raped, and more than 30,000 boys and girls have been used as child soldiers.




Accomplishments:

  • Mwendo Congo raised funds to buy sewing machines and other materials for 10 graduates of the Let Africa Live (LAV) tailor training program.  These "insertion kits" equip graduates to start their own businesses.
  • Land on Idjwi Island has been purchased and dedicated to the purpose of promoting health in the community. A local organization has been formed around this initiative with the ultimate goal of building a clinic for this underserved community.

Direction for the future:

  • Look for new projects to support the education of vulnerable youth. Possibilities include building housing for students, finding partners to donate tools, investing in a center where students can earn money while continuing to master their trade.
  • Continue to raise funds and work with our local partners on Idjwi Island to increase access to health with the ultimate goal of building a hospital.
  • Engage in advocacy in the U.S. to bring attention to the issues facing the DRC and their causes, especially around the issue of conflict minerals that end up in so many of the products we buy.