The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest and most dangerous places to live. It rates 176 out of 188 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index, with a per capita GDP of $479 vs Canada at $42,157. There is no social safety net. The widows and orphans are the poorest of the poor.
Lack of government support
The eastern part of the Congo is very poor with almost no evidence of government support. Electricity, when available, lasts for only a couple hours per day. Clean running water is almost non-existent, with limited sporadic supply forcing people to drink lake or river water with severe internal consequences.
Mosquito-born diseases such as malaria can be prevented by mosquito nets and sprays, but medical treatment can be costly and it is not always possible to pay for treatment. Imagine “choosing” some children and not others when they all could benefit from the medicine.
Food and water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, and parasites are common in the crowded living conditions and poor sanitation of an orphanage. Infections such as Trachoma and ringworm are easily transmitted in the shared bed sheets. Chronic undernourishment weakens the immune system, which makes the children more at risk.
Willingness to improve
The residents look fairly content and not aggressive. Each day is a struggle to find enough food. But relationships are valued and people seem to respect that they are all just trying to make a living. The civil war was caused mostly by neighbouring militia who crossed the border into Congo after the Rwandan genocide.
Create long-term jobs
The orphanage employs and houses 5 staff, who are dedicating their lives to the orphans. They work all day, every day. There is no pension system in the Congo. Our long-term plan is to take care of the caretakers. We are working towards a self-sustaining facility that can accommodate the staff as they age. This will include farming vegetables, chickens and pigs, as well as utilize solar power to generate electricity for other small business ideas.