Welcome! Mbote! Oleko! (Congolese greetings as diverse as the country itself.)
Established in 2005, HandUp Congo is a small, non-government organization created by an international group of resourceful women who are now making a difference to the health and well-being of several rural communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a country that ranks at the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index.
Through donations of both financial and material goods, and with the help of skilled volunteer teams, HandUp Congo works with grassroots communities on a range of capacity building projects. These include a women’s microfinance loan scheme that funds income generating projects for the community, an emergency medicine training program, and a duck raising project that enables orphans and Pygmy children to pay for their school uniforms and tuition.
Currently our work is based in Kinshasa and the village of Lotumbe in Equateur Province. To reach Lotumbe (“low-toom-bee”), the trip is a 3-hour flight from Kinshasa to Mbandaka, the province’s capital, and then a motorized dugout canoe to Lotumbe. If paddling, like most of the locals do, it is a 7 day trip. With an outboard motor, it’s a snap…only about 17 hours!
Witnessing the ravages of civil unrest and political upheaval, and moved by the poignant stories about the challenges of raising families in difficult socio-economic conditions, sisters Anne Zolnor and Lucy Hobgood-Brown with their friend Betsy Brill were motivated to make a difference. In 2005, they joined together to form HandUp Congo.
Connecting international resources, funds and skills to Congolese communities that the Hobgood family has long-time ties with is the aim of HandUp Congo. A hand up is better than a handout…..