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PROLASA International is embarking on projects that are transforming the island’s socio-economic activities. For centuries the Idjwi dwellers have relied on subsistence farming to sustain their families. However, climate change and emergence of various plant diseases (mostly affecting bananas and cassava) have negatively affected the peasant farmers’ yields. As a result the majority people are left impoverished and unemployed. The worst affected by these changes are the Pygmy people. Their economic activities are primarily hunting and gathering, and with the depleting hunting grounds they are left without food and shelter. We have a Training Centre for the Unoccupied Youth in DR Congo which is in KALENGE in the grouping of BUGARULA, Chiefdom of RUBENGA, Island Territory of Idjwi; the centre serves to sensitize the youth to gain skills in various apprenticeship in various trades such as: carpentry, welding and / or fitting, small breeding, cutting and sewing, crafts, and many other trades.
We have worked with the UN Development Programme on two occasions — once in collaboration with the Government of Japan for the construction of a bridge in South Idjwi and we are currently working in collaboration with the UNDP and the Swiss Cooperation on our hydroelectricity generation project. A recent visit from the UNDP with delegates from 8 African countries along with delegates from the UN in Switzerland, France and the USA, reaffirmed the capacity of PROLASA to execute various projects. They visited the industrial campus of PROLASA where the hydroelectricity that we generate is used to operate the following industries: woodworking shop, water purification and bottling plant, fruit juice production and bottling, chicken hatchery, chicken husbandry, plants oils production, soap production, tilapia farming, etc. These projects are providing employment for members of the community, a market for various agricultural products and they are building some sustainable development on the Island of Idjwi.
To date we have established and built the following infrastructure: The MUHETO, MEMA health centres and the KATOYI 2 health post in the MASISI regions; The KASHEBERE Health Centre in the KIROTCHE; The PROLASA GOMA Hospital Centre in the Goma ; The Idjwi University Clinic in the Idjwi health zone; The buildings of the PROLASA Institute in Idjwi, the La Sagesse 2 Institute in MUGUNGA in the commune of KARISIMBI,and the Kindergarten and Primary School of PROLASA in the PATMOS Children’s Village.
Kalenge Industrial Campus
The Kalenge Industrial Campus was created on the Island of Idjwi with several goals in mind which are; to enhance the industrial development of the Island of Idjwi ; to generate income which will support some of the PROLASA programmes which require constant funding , and to give employment opportunities to some of the children from the Patmos Children’s Village and to those in the surrounding communities. At the present time there are several projects in operation and several more that are in the planning stages.
Kalenge Industrial Campus (Idjwi Island)
Hydro electric scheme (Kalenge)
Translator: Bizimana Bifuko Lulimba Freddy
Muchulo Pygmy Site
As part of assisting the pygmies to make a transition from a hunter-gathering lifestyle to farming . Since the population of the island has increased from 50,000 people in 1986 to almost 300,000 in 2016, the entire island has been deforested. Now these people have no place to call home and they have been forced to become squatters wherever they can put up their temporary homes. They are often beaten and chased off the land where they have put up their homes, usually in the middle of the night. They have no land on which to grow food and since there are no more forests, their ability to hunt and gather food is virtually gone. They have no income, few possessions, no security, no opportunity to improve their lives. Their children do not go to school because they have no money to pay for their school fees, buy uniforms and school supplies. They have no health care because once again they cannot afford to pay for it. The Pygmy site is giving this community a chance to learn how to do agriculture, and build better houses. A clinic and an admnistration centre are under construction on the site.
Muchulo Pygmy Centre (Idjwi Island)
Translator: Bizimana Bifuko Lulimba Freddy
Stories from Muchulo
I was the first Pygmy to graduate with a degree in Agriculture……
I now work with Pygmies and earn my own salary
Being a resident nurse at the village is fun. I graduated…
I planted my first banana plant !!
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