Learn about the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Village of Bakwa-Tshileu
1. The D.R.C.
- The Second Congo War, which began in 1998, devastated the Democratic Republic of Congo and persists in the east of the country despite the signing of peace accords in 2003. Destroying most of the Central African country's infrastructure, the war is the world's deadliest conflict since World War II, killing 5.4 million people since its start. The vast majority died from conditions of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
- The DRC has experienced a long period of instability and violence, as well as repeated political crises.
- In the DRC, the prevalence of rape and other sexual violence is the worst in the world, according to a Washington Post article from 2007.
- The long and brutal conflict in the DRC has caused massive suffering for civilians. There have been frequent reports of rebels breaching humanitarian and human rights laws, killing civilians, destroying property, engaging in sexual violence, and causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.
- According to a 2008 United Nations report on the Congolese people:
- 75% live below the poverty line
- More than half have no access to drinking water or to basic healthcare
- Three out of every 10 children are poorly nourished
- Up to 20% of children won't live past the age of 5, and nearly half will die before their 40th birthday.
The villagers of Bakwa-Tshileu face innumerable challenges caused partly by society, cultural traditions, the corruption of government, and political instability :
- lack of clean water and thus risks of getting diseases such as cholera
- illiteracy for the majority (currently only 1 out of 5 children attend school in the Democratic Republic of Congo)
- economic hardships
- gender inequality (The womens' only purpose is work such as the cultivation of fields and acquirement of water which is found 14 kilometers away, at the nearest river. These women whose ages vary between 8 and 40 years old must endure harsh conditions while carrying jugs on their head in order to obtain drinkable water. 3 out of 4 children not attending school are girls.)
Nevertheless, under Jean de Dieu's management (to learn about him and his own project see Partners page), the village is on the road to development.
"Rumblings of war in heart of Africa" by Abraham McLaughlin
"World War Three" by Chris Bowers
"Prevalence of Rape in E. Congo Described as Worst in World". Washington Post
"The deadliest war in the world" Time.com.