DR Congo at 50: help for HIV and AIDS orphans
DFID-funded Amacongo, run by Christian Aid, provides HIV and AIDS widows and orphans with essential aid
Niclette Batoyande is 20. Both her parents died from HIV 3 years ago, leaving her and 5 siblings orphaned.
“After our mother died, my father became unwell too. After a while, he couldn’t work anymore and then he died too.
“My mother died in January; my father died that November. I was so sad.
“And even though my older brother has money, he refused to help us, so it was all even worse as no one would take care of us, and we felt so alone and rejected.
“The only good thing was that before dying, my father had been involved with AIDS NGO Amacongo, so when he died, they took me in, they took me to their sewing centre where I could learn to sew.
“I don’t know what I would have done without them. They have made such a difference to my life.
“They gave us classes there and training to make clothing, to sew. After I finished the first level of training, they gave me a sewing machine. I began sewing clothes. So many people are surprised to see such a young girl making such beautiful clothes!
“And I am doing very well. With the money I am earning, I have already bought a second sewing machine.
“I am also building myself a stall, so I can have a proper shop. I have already paid the security deposit on the location. I really want to finish building my little shop so I can get even more clients.”
Niclette works with 3 others from Amacongo. “Together, we want to develop a big business. If I didn’t have Amacongo, I don’t know what would have happened to me.
“I probably would have become a prostitute as I would have had no other way of making money. That is what has happened to my cousin, who didn’t have any help at all.
“She now works as a prostitute. She didn’t have any choice. That would have been me, had Amacongo not been there. It has made such a huge difference to my life.”
Facts and stats
DFID is funding Christian Aid £4,624,631 from April 2006 to March 2011 to reduce the transmission of HIV and AIDS in ten provinces of DRC.
Since April 2006, Amacongo has helped 7,843 individuals, including 3,651 people living with HIV and AIDS. During this time Amacongo has also supported 3,627 orphan children, sending 1,918 of them to school, and assisted 4,710 families with income generating activities.
Average life expectancy in DR Congo is just 46 years.
3.2% of the population aged 15-49 is living with HIV and AIDS.