Democratic Republic of Congo
Our community in DRC is small and located in the very east of the country in an area which is surrounded by militia activity. Many decades long conflict caused by competing interests in precious materials have resulted in the mining areas being controlled by competing militias. Harsh rule by brutal colonial forces from 100 years ago, created an environment of violence, murder, and generational trauma. The land is mostly exploited by those with the most power and the citizens of the eastern areas are left to subhuman living and work conditions in mines, militia groups or just poverty. The use of children in militias and highly dangerous, cancer causing mining work is normal. The residents of our small community in Beni, are trapped in their area without proper economy, income, and there are few provisions from government or NGOs due to the long-running security and political situation. Just traveling onto the main road to another region exposes them to possible kidnapping, murder and trauma.
In the South, there are also artists located by large mines, which experience similar issues. There, a larger economy of corporations exists and manages the security situation with varying results. Violent attacks are frequent, and the market provides barely minimal livelihood. This country has the highest amount of minerals needed for smart technology and space programs. The vicious fight over its resources is not expected to change.
Grassroots and private support is critical for this beautiful community where our artists and staff are located. Helping these artists and their communities maintain some type of connection to their humanity and ability to live with dignity is our goal. Our Safe Spaces are a small contribution to provide outside environmental support, access to outside markets, income generation and quite simply remind them they are not forgotten in this hundred year war which does not seem to have an end in sight.