Democratic Republic of Congo
The second largest country of Africa, full of paradoxes. On one hand, it is rich in natural resources (including cobalt, copper, coltan, crude oil, diamonds, gold); on the other hand, its inhabitants are among the poorest in the world. For decades, the DRC has been suffering from prolonged conflicts that have led to one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world.
- 77% of the population live in extreme poverty for less than $1.90 a day
- 16% of the country’s population, i.e. over 13 million people, require immediate humanitarian assistance
- 13,6 million people are deprived of access to safe water sources and proper sanitary and hygienic facilities
- numerous outbreaks of deadly diseases, including measles, malaria, cholera and Ebola
- about 10% of all malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa occurred here
“The virgin equatorial jungle with its beautiful views of volcanoes and lakes is a tourist paradise, according to those returning from volcano expeditions to see the world’s last mountain gorillas. I often hear this at the border crossing among expedition participants on their way back. However, people who were born here usually add: “Yes. Congo is a tourist paradise … and hell on earth for the people who live here. “
Congo hasn’t experienced such economic disarray and political chaos in a long time. Assailants, another local scourge, are benefiting most from this. Not a day goes by without news about yet another kidnapping or killing. Everyday life is characterized by an overwhelming lack of security, general poverty, roads in disrepair, illiteracy of the majority of residents and high prices of products since practically everything is imported. There is no social system or insurance, putting the sick and disabled at a huge disadvantage. Sometimes it seems like the very center of the world’s hopelessness of this world is here.
It’s surprising, however, how rarely you encounter sad people here. Recent rains destroyed the crops of almost all beans, and we are facing a very serious crisis because supplies will run out soon and there will be nothing to eat. Equatorial downpours collapsed several cottages but despite the fact that the inhabitants never have it easy, they look for solutions, protect their huts with foil or whatever they have at hand and tell themselves: “we will somehow survive”. This mantra has become a refrain of everyday life. “As long as we are alive, there is hope and nobody can take that away. We may have difficult lives, but when we see our neighbor struggling even more, we have to devote time to him “- people say. Thinking about the future is not an easy task for the residents of North Kivu, our neighbors and patients, because the future usually brings more trouble for them. For years, we have witnessed them bravely weather disaster after disaster, such as volcano eruptions, floods, war or the current threat of the Ebola virus.
Where do they find the strength to keep going? This is as difficult to answer as the question where you, friends and patrons of Good Factory, find the time, energy and resources to produce good for thousands, and soon hundreds of thousands, of people in need in Congo. You are truly amazing.
As long as we are all able to provide a small gesture of kindness, a smile and encouraging words, there will always be hope. By saving people, changing their life stories, allowing the most vulnerable to experience good, you are keeping our hope alive. Thank you for that.”