Have a Heart Adoption in Nord Kivu region
Nord Kivu province is in the eastern part of DR Congo. Its capital is Goma. The Maitri Movement carries out Have a Heart Adoption scheme in DR Congo since 1999. We work with the Pallottines Sisters, the Pallottines Order and the Sisters of the Holy Angels. The Pallottines Sisters run nutrition programmes in Goma and Rutshuru. There is also School of Life Skills available in Rutshuru, where young boys learn the carpentry skills. In the small village Ntamugenga (150 km north of Goma) the Sisters of the Holy Angels run a small hospital for the local community as well as the nutrition programme.
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The children participating in our programmes come primarily from the eastern part of Congo, on the border with Rwanda. As mentioned before, we work in Nord Kivu province. The region major cities are Goma and Bukavu, where more than 12.5 million people live. A lot of fighting took place in the area especially in 1996, the Second Congo War (1998–2003) and the Kivu conflict (2004–present). It is estimated that more than 5.4 million people have been killed since 1998. On many occasions, we spoke with the families living in endangered areas. We also grieved over the loss of several of our children. When you decide to sponsor a child in this region, please remember their life is in constant danger.
Since 1994 there are few government institutions in Kivu province. There are also active Civil Society Organisations advancing citizens interests. Along with the Catholic, Baptist and Pentecostal Churches, they provide a range of social services to people including health and education. In 1974/75 president Mobutu banned the religion from schools. Their nationalisation caused an education crisis. In 1977, Mobutu had to reintroduce religion in schools and bring back the teachers.
In 2003, Nyiragongo volcano erupted, destroying 40% of Goma. The lava covered many hospitals and schools causing some fatalities.
Many conflicts in Nord Kivu arise from ethnic differences. Nanda tribes are the native people of Goma and form the majority there. Bukavu is populated mainly by Bashi. There are more than 40 different languages spoken in the region. In the 19th century, Tutsi, speaking Kinyarwanda, began migrating to Goma. They are called Banyaruanda here. It was Goma, where Tutsi created rebellion centre during the war. In Rutshuru, Tutsi people are 24% of the whole population. In Bukavu, they are called Banyamulenge. They form a minority here and the region is more peaceful. All the population data is estimated since the last census was in 1984. The situation in Goma is still unstable and worse than Bukavu. If you decide to sponsor a child in Goma, your help means much more than in other areas.
The challenges of education
The article 43 of the Congolese Constitution states that a primary school is compulsory and free. The article was to come into effect in September 2005. The teachers’ strikes over low pay made it difficult to introduce. Parents need to cover all the education costs. They contribute towards the teachers’ salaries ( approximately 50%), cover various school operating expenses, including administration, inspections, and exams. According to the data, in 2004, a household spent between 27 and 39 USD annually on primary education. This sum doesn’t include the costs of textbooks and notebooks, exam fees and more. In fact, many children don’t have any textbooks.
In the beginning of 1960, there were only 20 university graduates in the whole country. These statistics show how important our programmes are in DR Congo. Every child who successfully finishes the secondary school or graduates from the university is a huge success to us.