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Kisanga - A Sanctuary in War and Chaos


Democratic Republic of the Congo


„Kisanga“ means island. For 12 traumatized women and an equal number of children, the welfare center of the same name on the outskirts of the city of Kisangari is an island of refuge. And they are in desperate need of protection and help in a country that has been in a permanent state of emergency for the past 20 years. A war has been raging over coltan ore which is mined in the resource-rich eastern part of the country. Without the tantal extracted from the ore, the entire electronics industry would come to a standstill. Many refugees have fled from the eastern border areas into the inland city of Kisangani.





The welfare center Kisanga, run by the organization Association des Femmes pour le Développement (AFPD), is located there. It is a meeting place, accommodation, work and education center all rolled into one. Following the principle of helping people help themselves, it provides individuals the opportunity to secure their own livelihood. The center has its own vegetable gardens, pastures and fish ponds. Sheep, goats and rabbits provide meat for the inhabitants and are sold at the local market. The school provides practical life skills in addition to teaching reading and writing.

The island refuge suffered some serious setbacks in 2011 due to an outbreak of cholera, contaminated water, the loss of all farm animals and the general unrest in the country. Thanks to the support of the German aid association Kisanga e.V. and the Hand in Hand-Fund, the center was able to obtain new animals and fresh seeds – the start-up capital for a new beginning.





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