DR Congo: Skilling up the slums in Kinshasa
Marie-Josee Loando lives in Pakadjuma, one of Kinshasa’s many slums, where she sells bread to the residents of this sprawling settlement.
It has an unfortunate reputation for both crime and sex work, but Marie-Josee’s lucky as she’s manage to get some free business training from a local NGO.
“I’ve seen a change in my business because of the training we got,” she told Africanews.
“I used to spend most of my income on buying cosmetics and clothes to enhance my beauty. But that training has opened my mind to sound business practices.”
In 2021 a young lawyer called Eliane Kibubi decided to start the NGO Pakadjuma Resilience Foundation to support women like Marie-Josee as well as their children.
“Both my parents are teachers. For me, education is the foundation of every society and in this area, most children have not had the chance to go to school,” she told Africanews.
“Many girls have not been taught certain values. This is a place where rape, robbery and prostitution are part of everyday life and it reflects the reality of our Congo as a whole.”
Unemployment is high in Kinshasa, but despite that it attracts a lot of migrants from other parts of the giant country.
Eliane supports people who’ve settled in Pakadjuma after fleeing the fighting in the mineral-rich east of the country.
Her NGO helps around 500 people by giving them enough education to successfully apply for private schools which it also pays for.
Some of them, such as one unnamed young woman, are widows of soldiers who’ve been killed in the fighting.
“Many of us can’t afford to pay for studies and we feel ashamed to start studying at a late stage in life. But Mama Eliane, our sister, was compassionate towards us and started educating us for free,” she told Africanews.