Right now, our main focus areas are in the cities of Bunia and Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kisoro, Uganda. Families enrolled in our program come from the area nearby, some walking a considerable distance to attend classes or our church plants.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the 2nd largest country in Africa, and has a population of over 75 million people. The wars in eastern Congo (’90-’03) and former corrupt dictatorial leadership have taken their toll on the Democratic Republic of Congo. While having the natural and human resources to be one of the richest countries on earth, it instead has the lowest per capita GDP in the world. According to the United Nations, it is also the world’s poorest country per capita.
The eastern part of the country is especially plagued by instability, as militias continue to wreak havoc on the population. The conflict is notorious for serious violations of human rights, including violence against women and the use of child soldiers. Since 1996 the International Rescue Committee has calculated that approximately 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes. According to the U.S. State Dept., approximately 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and children raped every day.
Life expectancy in the DRC is 46 years. Access to water and health services is also extremely difficult as 80% of the health centers in the area have been looted in recent years. According to USAID, 148 of 1000 Congolese children will not reach the age of five. An estimated 465,000 children in the DRC die each year from preventable diseases like malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.
Despite laws against child marriage, the practice remains widespread in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality. The MICS survey showed that almost 1 in 2 girls are forcibly married before they reach 18. The country is ranked 142 out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Equality Index due to the way its system works against girls and women.
As God allows, our future plans are to expand into the entire surrounding Africa Great Lakes Region including Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania.
Our headquarters and office is located in Kisoro, Uganda, which is a town in the southwestern part of Uganda, near the border of Congo.