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Watch this upifting film. This is what can be achieved when people help.
Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines
Maisha means “life”. This film tells the story of a new life outside the mines. It is hopeful. The Good Shepherd sisters, known as the Walking Sisters - who travel by foot to reach out to the people of Kolwezi – offer practical help and a different vision of how life away from the suffering of the cobalt mines.
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The Good Shepherd Sisters in Kolwezi
Good news! 100% of donations go to fund the Good Shepherd Kolwezi project featured in the film, to help pay for hot school meals and materials for the classroom. The Good Shepherd Sisters are grateful for every donation. Asante sana!
The Good Shepherd Sisters approach their work with compassion, gentleness, acceptance and respect. Their practical support to women, girls and children, wounded by injustice and oppression, aims to restore in them a sense of infinite worth, dignity and hope for the future.
FACT: 42% of Congolese children from 5 – 14 years make up the informal labour force in artisanal mines.
The Good Shepherd Sisters have introduced the only free school in the area, and daily meals for the children, attended by 1,100 ex-child miners.
Sister Catherine Mutindi: “This is a place where people have come to know the value and dignity of life. The children know that the mines equate to death and the children now refuse to go into the mines.”
The Sisters also promote the sensitization of women’s and girls’ rights of safety and wellbeing in the community. The women are supported to become proficient at tailoring, knitting, catering, numeracy and literacy. Since 2013 when ground was broken, cooperative farming and animal husbandry now sustains dozens of families.
Life changes for the people involved with these projects, supported by The Good Shepherd Sisters. Sister Catherine Mutindi says, “Administrators, staff personnel and program participants look to a life outside the mines. They speak of a life in which they can feed their children and where violence towards women has ceased. They shine a light on specific alternatives that deny the inevitability of status quo power and that restore communal bonds and create new identities that nurture children’s dreams of education.”
"Digital minerals" and the artisanal miners of DR Congo
Digital minerals needed to power things like smartphones, laptops, cameras, electric cars are mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the most mineral rich place on earth. An estimated value of DR Congo’s unexported minerals is 24 trillion dollars, dwarfing the GDP of the United States and the EU. How then, are the artisanal miners of these minerals, so desperately poor?
There is no investment. The government of DR Congo is inept, corrupt and ineffective, using its people for cheap labour. Laws to protect children are not enforced.
“Mining... brings immense wealth to the gobal economy. Locally it produces suffering, poverty and exploitation.” (Film: Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines]
For those of us who own a smartphone, laptop, or digital camera, reality is this: the men, women and children who mine digital minerals in DR Congo are trapped in poverty, risking their health and lives, while the companies who sold us the smartphones, laptops and cameras, profit and grow rich. These companies are aware of these human rights abuses, but have, to date, managed to ignore them, or minimize them. It is time for companies to do the right thing and consider the welfare of Congolese people and respond in a practical and helpful manner.
Donate to The Good Shepherd Sisters in Kolwezi, DR Congo
Please note 100% of donations go to fund the Good Shepherd Kolwezi project featured in the film, to help pay for hot school meals and materials for the classroom. We are grateful for all the support we've received to date. Asante sana!
For further information about the living conditions of children and women in artisanal mining communities and the GS program in DRC
Vision & Mission statement of The Good Shepherd International Foundation