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Espoir Congo has developed indigenous programs and permanent infrastructure to benefit the orphans and to assist the overall community of Kikimi. Before Espoir Congo built a primary school, the children had to study without desks and under a roof made of palm fronds in a country where the rainy seasons last 9 months out of the year. Prior to opening the medical center, villagers had to travel 5 km on foot to the nearest medical outpost to receive even the most basic treatment.
In 2010, Espoir Congo built the first primary school in Kikimi village, with two large classrooms, school office, dispensary and outside terrace. In 2012 a second building was constructed, enabling the school to operate as a complete 6 grade primary school, serving over 200 orphaned and underprivileged children.
By caring for orphaned and underprivileged children in a village outside the capital Kinshasa, Espoir Congo not only keeps these vulnerable children from ending up living on the streets, but they aim to fight poverty and disease by providing what they need to have a good start in life, through education, medical care, access to clean water, and distribution of food and other basic necessities.
Espoir Congo’s medical center provides free medical diagnosis, treatment and medication to orphan and underprivileged children and offers highly subsidized medical care to the village population, the biggest demand being prenatal care and childbirth.
An agricultural development project on the school grounds provides food gardening and animal husbandry training for older orphan boys. It also serves as a micro-enterprise to support the orphan programs and enables impoverished village parents to earn income to pay for their children’s subsidized school fees.
This program addresses the need for holistic education in local schools by providing opportunities for the children to participate in group sports, go on field trips, and engage in activities with art, drama, music and group discussion, in a positive learning environment. Espoir Congo utilizes a character building curriculum specifically created for a young African audience to address relevant social issues and instill positive character traits and morals.
Opportunities for education, employment and micro-enterprise are offered to struggling women and orphaned/underprivileged teenage girls. Tailoring classes, agricultural farming, start-up capital for small businesses, ante- and post-natal education, and job skills training are among some of the support options assisting and empowering women in rural Kinshasa.
Espoir Congo’s micro-enterprise program enables disadvantaged youth and women to start up small businesses and generate income to support their families or studies. The program includes training in business management and ongoing mentoring.
Espoir Congo’s social services/humanitarian training program motivates young adults to engage in the community and become mentors and role models. In a country ravaged by decades of civil unrest and unrelenting poverty, students are encouraged to engage in their communities with mentoring and humanitarian initiatives such as hospital visitation and disaster relief.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, close to 11% of the total child population is orphaned, due to war in the east of the country, and due to malnutrition, poverty, disease and poor health care in urban areas like Kinshasa.
More photos of Congolese Orphans