Congo Tusaidiyane aims to bring Hope, Healing and Opportunity to the Congolese community. We do this by providing a home to orphans, empowering families by teaching them life skills, improving community health, and expanding education.
The Republic Democratic of Congo has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world due to war, conflict, and poor economy. Parents are unable to send all their children to school due high cost of school fees. Nearly 40 percent of children, especial girls, are unable to attend school. Parents find themselves in the circumstance where they have to choose between putting food on the table or paying school fees for their children. An old proverb states “the education for a female child ends up in the kitchen.” People forget that when the male children graduated from school and are unable to find job due to unemployment, is those illiterates women who are working on farms, carrying fruit baskets with children on their back to provide to support the family. However, those women are now unable to grow their businesses due to illiteracy, and they can’t think creatively about how to save money and do business better. That is the reason why we are targeting to build schools around the country with affordable fees for the middle class families, and create scholarships opportunity for orphans, poor families, and street children. This way, every child will be able to attend school, and when the younger generation is educated, they can help to develop their country.
We are building resilience by engaging with victims of sexual violence, widows, street children, and orphans. Children in particular are especially at risk in the Congo. In rural areas, children under the age of 5 have a high mortality rate due to disease, malnutrition, and contaminated water. To combat this problem, Congo Tusaidiyane is developing nutritional programs to help children get the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. Other at risk populations in the Congo include victims of sexual violence and widows. Providing medical care for widows and rape victims is important, but it is equally important to care for their social and psychological needs. We provide job skills training to widows and rape victims. Learning job skills has not only an economic benefit, but also a social and psychological one. Women build confidence learning new skills, and their added economic value helps them reintegrate into their communities.
We are teaching local farmers micro-farming techniques with the goal of improving the farming system. By training local farmers to use technological tools, we can ensure a stable food supply for our communities. Some examples of our agricultural training include how to use hybrid seed, fertilizers, and insecticides. When farmers harvest their crops, they contribute to the program by paying back the rental tools, fees and seed. If farmers have a good year, they can buy the tools they rented the year before. We believe with his system we can fight against malnutrition, and economic stagnation.
We are also training widows and sexual assault victims who faced rejection how to become self-reliant. Learning agricultural skills allows them to pay medical fees, schools fees for their children, and provide food for their families.
Providing Clean Water
We are partnering with different organizations to fight the water crisis in the Congo. A significant number of Congolese people do not have access to clean water in their towns and in the villages. This results in serious health issues and sometimes even death. Children under 5 are especially vulnerable, and they are regularly sick with chronic diarrhea and stomach pain. Available water is often contaminated with chemicals, bacteria and waste. Every day, women and children walk two to three times day to get water from steams, ponds, lakes, and rivers, water sources that are often miles away. We are working to build wells and sustainable water filtration systems. The longest distance between the well and local village will be between half a mile and a mile. We also provide a program to teach local people how to filter dirty water into pure and clean water.
We strive to bring dignity to women who have been victims of sexual violence. The women who come to us are traumatized. It is often that they have been raped multiple times, by many different soldiers. Women lose their sense of purpose when they are raped in front of their own husbands and children. They don’t just suffer psychological and physical trauma, they also face community rejection. Our priority at Congo Tusaidiyane is opening more shelters to women and girls and providing food, medical aid and counseling. The most rewarding part of our work is seeing women and girls learn to smile again.
Children who are born as result of rape also face rejection. They are seen as a symbol of misfortune in their communities, and they are unable to enjoy a normal childhood. Many women end up abandoning their children in the streets, while others physically abuse them. In seeing their children, they are constantly reminded of the rape, and the children are unable to bond with their other siblings or their mother.
Providing Education and Security
Without education or a place to call home, it becomes impossible for children to dream about tomorrow. Unfortunately education, security, and a loving home are out of reach for many Congolese children, especially those living in rural areas. When rebels enter a village, they often take orphans and the poorest of children to force them into becoming child soldiers. Due to the lack education access, children as young as five, work 8 to 12 hours a day in mines to provide food for their siblings. We want to expand educational opportunities for young children and provide young adult orphans with job training. We are also working to strengthen the communities children live by bringing in clean, safe water, improving agricultural techniques and sanitation, and by promoting good health and nutrition practices. Finally, we are working to establish orphanages and safe houses for children and sexual assault victims.