From the Streets to the Classroom

OnePlate has partnered with a foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to fund a project that allows some of the world’s poorest children to go back to school.  

Currently, the DRC ranks 176 out 187 countries in the Human Development Index, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. Millions of people live hand to mouth, with little by the way of security, jobs or future.

The poverty and political instability has a particularly devastating impact on the children.

Children as young as ten work long and difficult days in the mines just to survive. Young girls have to sell sexual favours for extra income. One young girl, Rachel (14), tell us of the heartbreak:

“My best friend is gone … She has gone to work on the street. She is a girl with the candle (prostitute). Every day she must look for clients. She sells to survive. She hates her new life. She is 15.”

There is a lot of suffering in the Congo, but there is room for hope too and programs like the ‘back to school initiative’ are helping to plant seeds of hope back in the communities.

OnePlate raised $30,000 to develop and run a demonstration farm to teach children (and the local community) to grow and tend their own at-home vegetable gardens.

The children will be taught how to manage seed banks, grow and tend crops, given cooking classes and instructions on how to store/sell produce at market. They were also given the tools and seeds to start their own family farm. 

The ‘back to school initiative’ has many flow on effects. It gives the family a stable and extra source of food, and the family can also sell any excess crop for profit. But greater than this—if there is enough food at home, then the children will be free to attend school.

Getting an education is one of the surest ways out of a life of abject poverty. This beautiful initiative provides the conditions where it is possible for children to be free to attend school.

Part of the funding has gone to giving ‘scholarships’ for children, so that families who take up the program will not suffer the financial loss of their child not being at work.

Nshimba is a young girl with seven brothers and sisters. She is the only one in her family who has been able to attend school and dreams about providing a better life for her siblings:

“When you study you see your future. I see a future where my brothers and sisters and parents will always have enough to eat, will have good health and be strong, will have extra to sell. I study hard. I will get good job to make this future come true for my family.”

The ‘back to school’ initiative breaks the culture of poverty at every level – through education, work, food and family.  

To read more about our project in The Congo please click here.

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