Posted on January 27, 2017
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January 2017 marks a year since ACT expanded its operations in Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), becoming the latest African country where we are active. For a year now, ACT has been supporting six orphans at the Lighthouse school in a village outside Lubumbashi, the DRC’s second largest city, providing the children with uniform, school meals, stationary and other essential school materials. The efforts of ACT and those involved with the Lighthouse School have made an important impact on the community. However, many civilians living in the DRC still face unpredictable and dangerous challenges.
In many respects, the DRC had the potential to be a leading African nation. Rich in natural resources and boasting access to the sea through the River Congo – Africa’s second largest country is in fact one of its poorest. Internal and external wars since gaining independence in the 1960s have stunted the countries prosperity, with normal Congolese people suffering the most. The end of the civil war in 2003 has brought some peace and stability to civilians. The Lighthouse school which ACT supports is one of many stories across the country that brings hopes to those at home and inspiration and admiration from those like us abroad.
In 2000, two missionaries, Virginia Perkins and Carol Seymour purchased a plot of land with the vision of providing education to local children. With the help of the community, who came together to help build and sustain the project, the plot of land now houses six churches and the Lighthouse School that provides an education for around 140 primary school children. In a country where it is estimated that 25 percent of primary school age children and 60 percent of adolescents are not enrolled in school, this project is hugely beneficial and a shining example of what can be achieved, even in the context of such suffering and destruction.
The political and security situation in the DRC remains precarious, with high crime rates and widespread corruption, especially in rural areas. Katanga Province, where the Lighthouse School is located, has had its share of problems. Only a few months ago, the schools’ caretaker was stopped by members of the DRC army after dark, robbed, beaten and taken to prison where he died three days later from his injuries. His story reflects the fallout from years of civil war and violence, where the army is sometimes indistinguishable from rebel or militia forces and the government is often unable to provide security for its citizens, let alone provide free education for children and deal with rife unemployment and inflation.
The Lighthouse School and ACT will however, continue to provide education to orphans and young people in the country who are most in need, giving young Congolese the skills and knowledge to prosper, as well as hope for the future. ACT is increasing the number of children it supports at the Lighthouse School this year. We look forward to helping more disadvantaged children and orphans in the province and hope to further our work there in the coming years as we continue to grow as an organisation and spread our vision.
If you would like to learn more about ACT is educating disadvantaged children and orphans in Africa, click here
To make regular donations to sponsor a child with ACT, click here