Health and healing for the Congo

It has been a privilege this month for HandUp Congo Australia to be involved in helping facilitate the Sydney visit of two HEAL Africa delegates:  Mama Muliri and Dr. Justin Paluku.

Founded over a decade ago during the peak of the conflict by Congolese orthopedic surgeon Jo Lusi (an alumnus of another HandUp Congo project partner, UPC in Kinshasa) and his social activist wife Lyn, HEAL Africa is a direct response to these horrific conditions. HEAL Africa (www.healafrica.org) partners proactively with communities to transform the status of women and bring village life back into balance. Through its full-service training hospital in Goma and its community-based initiatives in public health, community development, and conflict resolution, HEAL Africa works with individuals and communities to restore health, build hope, and help create a better future for all people of the DR Congo. Today HEAL Africa has a Congolese staff of 28 doctors, 54 nurses, 340+ community development advocates and educators, a small administrative team, and hundreds of Congolese volunteers.

HandUp Congo assisted WorldShare to organize awareness raising opportunities in Sydney, including a presentation to Rotary Hunters Hill. After hearing from HEAL Africa’s Mama Muliri, an eloquent advocate for women and other marginalized groups, Rotarians and guests heard about the challenges faced in Australia by Congolese refugees.  This perspective was provided by Theophile Elongo, president of the Federation of Congolese Council in Australia (FCCA).

There are approximately 4000 Congolese refugees and migrants in Australia, experiencing more than 75% unemployment, mental health issues due to many years of displacement, and lack of affordable housing in Australia.  The global/local contexts provided stimulating discussions and food for thought.

For details on how you might assist HEAL Africa or the FCCA, contact lucy@claypartners.com.