The Democratic Republic of the Congo is simultaneously one of the richest and yet one of the poorest countries in the world. Its natural resources are unparalleled: there are precious mineral deposits underground and its soil is covered by the world's second largest rainforest, which provides valuable timber.
The country alone produces more than 3% of copper and 50% of cobalt sold worldwide. Diamonds, coltan, gold and oil are also found in abundance in the country.
Yet little of all this wealth remains in the DRC due to the interests of foreign companies.
Child labor is a well-known scourge: although the country has announced its intention to remove children from the mines by 2025, they continue to be exploited without any respect for their human rights.
5,2 million of displaced people
72% of people live in extreme poverty
3,5 million of children of primary age are out of school
The southern region of the country, where most mines are located, also has the highest child mortality rate in the world. 1 in 5 children dies before the age of 5.
Pamoja, our emergency and rehabilitation school, is located in the Mutoshi area of Kolwezi, a city at the heart of the most important mining district in the world. Our aim is to take children and adolescents away from the cobalt mines and back into education.
We offer a rehabilitation pathway, in order for them to catch up on the lost school years with the ultimate goal of enrolling them into the public school system.
Our approach is holistic: on top of high quality education, we also provide meals in school as well as food packs and hygiene products to our students and their families. This way we make sure our students’ basic needs are met and the risk of going back to work in the mines is reduced.
When fully operational, Pamoja will be able to accommodate up to 120 students, aged between 9 and 14. Our school's staff is entirely local. Following Still I Rise’s emergency schools tradition, we have named the school ‘Pamoja’, which translates to ‘Together’ in Swahili.