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Project Congo was founded by local physician Dr. Sylvia Esser-Gleason, right here in Dayton. Her story is incredible, and we at Dayton Local are honored to have produced a short video to tell it.
Project Congo was founded by local physician Dr. Sylvia Esser-Gleason, right here in Dayton. Her story is incredible, and we at Dayton Local are honored to have produced a short video (above) to tell it.
Please watch the video, share with friends, and consider supporting Project Congo.
In 2008 I traveled to Goma in the eastern Democratic republic of Congo. Goma was termed by National Geographic “the most dangerous city in the world.” Goma is located in North Kivu Province and sits in the heart of the war that has devastated the Congo since 1994.
Few people know this but the war in the Congo has claimed over 6 million lives. I was overwhelmed by what I saw there. There were hundreds of thousands of people crowded in squalid refugee camps that lacked adequate food and sanitation. Children were dying of starvation and easily treatable diseases. Rape and the mistreatment of women was widespread, earning the area the dubious title of “the rape capital of the world.”
When I questioned why all of this was happening, I was told ironically that it was because the Congo is too rich. The Congo is probably the richest depository of natural resources in the world and because of this, people die. The world lusts for the Congos gold, diamond, timber, rubber, water and minerals.
First world countries help fund third world fighters to take control of resource laden areas. In the eastern Congo the sought after mineral is a mundane looking white substance called “Coltan.”
Few have heard of Coltan but almost everyone uses it because it is used to make electronic circuit boards in everyday items such as cellphones and computers.
You are probably carrying the blood of the Congo right now on you in the form of your smartphone, yet no one talks about the war in the Congo.
I felt that there was nothing I could do that could help or make a difference. But slowly it dawned on me that the only thing I could do wrong was to do nothing at all. Even the smallest gesture was better than nothing.
Project Congo now ships thousands of pounds of medical supplies and medications a year. Our supplies and facilities have brought medical relief to thousands of people. We support three hospitals, as well as several small clinics. We install laboratory, surgical and x-ray equipment specifically planed for low resource areas. We set up alternative power sources such as solar panels and gas generators.
We train medical personnel and local midwives. We provide medical and psychological care to rape victims. We have helped dozens of women get reconstructive surgery and psychological help after being raped. We support a nutritional center for severe pediatric malnutrition cases. We also seek to improve the lives of women and children through access to education and vocational training and set up income generating projects. We sponsor a girl’s soccer to improve self esteem and health.
You can promote awareness of the Crisis in the Congo by:
Over 95% of donated money to Project Congo goes directly to humanitarian work.
The “Forgotten War” in the Congo targets women, and the innocent. I left Goma with the words of a priest I had met there ringing in my ears “tell people what is happening here.”
Next Saturday, Project Congo has their annual 5K Run/Walk to raise awareness of the war and humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We hope to see you there!