"Often we go to bed hungry"

DR Congo
November 2015

Assignment for Oxfam Novib

Heavy rainfall in the Sange area in South-Kivu in DR Congo swept away houses and destroyed the crops. A humanitarian disaster in a climate of insecurity, conflict and poverty.

Oxfam ’s local partner organisation PADEBU (Programme d'Action pour le Développement des Bases Unies) was one of the organisations responding and providing emergency relief to the people in need. "There were many people in immediate humanitarian need. It was too much for us as a small organisation to handle by ourselves. Therefor, we coordinated with other organisations to help as many households as we possibly could. We provided building materials to the people to rebuild their homes and we distributed agricultural kits for them to resume their farming activities," explains PADEBU’s coordinator Moise Munana.

With the help of Oxfam. PADEBU also restored the the irrigation canal in the affected area, enabling the villagers to resume their farming activities. PADEBU also supported the community in managing the maintenance of the canal which included an annual contribution by the farmers. But the canal is in decline. Most farmers are unable to pay the contribution because of a new disaster. A virus, by the villagers called "Ebola", affects the crops causing crop failure with an acute food shortage as a result.

Four years later Rosa Ngoyiera still lives in poverty with her children. She is grateful because with the help of PADEBU, she was able to build a new home. But she is no longer able to farm the land and grow cassava. The virus has affected everything. "I have no income. My husband passed away and I have no money to send my children to school. We cook the cassava leaves but often we go to bed hungry. Some people around here try to earn some money by cutting down trees to make charcoal. But even the trees have been affected by the virus."

For Mariam Sekaya the situation in the area is dire. She is old, fragile and hungry. She takes life day by day. On top of that she has to take care of her disabled daughter. "We largely depend on farmers in the area to give us cassava leaves to cook. Fortunately, I have a few goats that I can sell to pay my hospital bills."

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 Mariam Sekaya:  "We largely depend on farmers in the area to give us cassava leaves to cook. Fortunately, I have a few goats that I can sell to pay my hospital bills."

Mariam Sekaya: "We largely depend on farmers in the area to give us cassava leaves to cook. Fortunately, I have a few goats that I can sell to pay my hospital bills."

 Rosa Ngoyiera:  "I have no income. My husband passed away and I have no money to send my children to school.”

Rosa Ngoyiera: "I have no income. My husband passed away and I have no money to send my children to school.”