A simple way to help dramatically improve the lives of villagers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Make a donation or purchase your t-shirt today and all profits will go toward the purchase of pigs and program costs for a family who is currently living in dire poverty. This will be done through the micro-enterprise program set up by the church that we serve with in the Nebobongo/Isiro region of the DRC.
History: Only a few decades ago this region in the DRC was an economic engine with trade routes, railroads and robust industries producing textiles, cotton, rubber, Goodyear tires, soap and vast amounts of coffee. Over time and in part due to a twenty-year civil war, all of these industries collapsed and the roads and rail lines have fallen into disrepair without the large companies that once maintained them. With these industries gone the people turned to raising pigs and goats as a means of generating income. Since there are no banks in this part of the world, pigs and goats offered a way to build some financial security. This gave families the opportunity to sell a pig or goat when it was time to pay for school fees, home expenses, clothes, medical expenses and other purchases. In 2012-13 a widespread bacterial epidemic killed nearly all of the goats and pigs in the region, (approximately 99% of all pigs) literally wiping out the life savings of everyone in the region overnight. The people of this region are currently living in dire poverty.
The Solution: A plan has been created to bring pigs back to the people, but in a more sustainable way that will help prevent a future epidemic. Using the local church as the backbone and for its infrastructure and a Congolese agricultural professional to lead this, the pig program will form educational co-ops in each village where they will teach the people how to properly raise and care for pigs. Then once a village can show it is prepared, each family will receive a pregnant pig as a loan. The loan is then repaid by returning some of the first litter of piglets to the program, which will then allow the program to perpetuate, reaching more and more families and eventually entire communities over time. Our role in serving with the church is to help raise the funds needed to purchase and transport a herd of pigs needed to start the program from a German NGO on the Congo/Uganda border that has bred pigs to be resistant to some forms of disease common to the region. Once this initial phase has been completed, the program will be replicated and implemented into neighboring communities as well and more funds will be required for the start-up costs.
Your donation will go toward:
- Purchasing pregnant pigs
- Building pens at the program site
- Assisting the church with salaries for employees of the program
- Feed for the animals
- Education costs for villagers
- And other needed expenses
Animals of Opportunity was created by Ryan Schmidt in 2015. He is currently a senior at Niwot High School and his parents are co-founders of E4 Project. Ryan has been influenced by his parents’ involvement in E4 and also by his five-year battle with Lyme disease. He was extremely sick and spent over three years mostly in bed. Through this experience he developed an even deeper compassion for the suffering and hardships that people face. He wanted to do more to help the communities where we serve and was instantly drawn to the “pigs program” that was in its initial phase in the DRC because of the powerful impact it can have in transforming communities quickly. Ryan is raising funds through donations and the sale of shirts to purchase pigs for this program. If you are interested in learning more about this overall program, please read this blog post.