DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The nation of Congo is found in the center of Africa. Though it has some of the world’s richest resources and most hospitable people, it is known to many as “the heart of darkness” for its decades of violent war. Between the years of 1998-2004, the number of deaths was unfathomable, 1,200 people died every day because of the war. That’s the equivalent of three 9/11 terrorist attacks a week…for seven years (UNICEF). Their reports also show that the DRC is one of the top three deadliest places to be born.
The history is complex, with tension between dozens of different rebel groups and warlords, both Congolese and foreign, unstable aid work and past government failures. The reason for the present fighting is vague and almost indefinable, as the rapes and killing can seem to happen at a whim with no concrete results from the massacres. But with Congo’s extremely rich natural resources, one can only assume it’s a repeated cycle of a hunger for power and wealth.
Congo’s lush land is incredible. Roughly 80% of the world’s coltan is exported across the countries border’s, though only about 1% of the metal sold on the open market is Congolese (Coltan is found in laptop computers, cell phones, cameras etc). Congo is also rich with oil, diamonds and gold. (War Child)
With the numerous rebel groups and lack of value among women, the UN has often said that Congo is also the rape capital of the world with a report from the American Journal of Public Health published reports in 2011 that 48 women were raped every hour. As for the children, life is not much easier. Only half of all children have the opportunity to attend school and of those that do, most are boys. From that group, only half of them will make it past the fifth grade. That’s 25% of the nation graduating secondary school (UNICEF).
Though Congo’s land is heavy with past tragedies, the people of Congo still remain some of the most resilient on the planet. Their dance and music are known globally and the people take great pride in their creativity displayed in their beautiful dress and bright fabrics.
We consider it a great honor to be able to grow our work in the center of Africa.