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The Democratic Republic of the Congo, or simply "the Congo," has known only conflict for the past 50 years. Since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960 when it was called Zaire, its people have suffered constant violence, insecurity and political instability.
By 2015, there were nearly 500,000 known refugees from the DRC mostly scattered among Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda Zambia, Burundi, Malawi and the Republic of the Congo (a much smaller country to the west). Adding those who were forced from their homes but remain in DRC, more than 1.3 million Congolese have been displaced due to the ongoing violence.
Living conditions in refugee camps are very poor with severe overcrowding, unhealthy and often unsafe environments, and limited education and employment opportunities. Many of the refugees suffer from a high degree of trauma from exposure to violence, torture and assault.
Through UNHCR, Congolese families have been able to resettle in limited numbers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Here in Western Massachusetts some like Lydia and Nyota have found a home and the opportunity to create a brighter future with parents and siblings.
We are so happy to have met Lydia and Nyota, and for them to have joined our studio. To send them a message, simply fill in the form below.
We never share email addresses with anyone, so your contact information will remain completely confidential.