All posts by jeanm

Next Project Congo Run/Hike Fundraiser at Caesar Creek in 2019

Stay tuned for details about the next Project Congo Run/Hike in 2019

 

2017 saw the first Run/Hike at Caesar Creek to benefit Project Congo.  It was a low overhead, high return fundraiser – no entry fees, no prizes, donations gratefully accepted.  The weather really cooperated, starting at about 32 degrees but warming by noon to almost 40 – clear and sunny!   What a great turnout of runners and hikers.   Several courses and distances were marked ranging from a couple miles to 12 miles (although one runner actually did 16!).   Everyone was so generous, with donations to help Project Congo support hospitals and people in the DRC.   Dr. Sylvia spoke of her first trip to the Congo and how appalling the conditions were – inspiring her to found this nonprofit 10 years ago.  She reminded us all of the plight of refugees around the world, going without food and shelter and shared her own family’s experience in France during WWII.    We raised $1205.75 just at the event, not counting donations online and some promised in the mail.   FANTASTIC!!   MERCI to everyone and YES! We plan to make this an annual event!! Suggestions for improvements welcome – send email to info@projectcongo.org.

Aneta along with Mike organized this event. THANK YOU Aneta!
Listening
What a great turnout!
THANK YOU EVERYONE!
Mike and Cuba have been loyal supporters of Project Congo for years. Mike organized this event with Aneta. THANK YOU MIKE!
Dr. Sylvia Esser-Gleason, Founder of Project Congo
Mingling
Hikers
Sylvia sharing her story

 

 

St. Vincent’s New Maternity Center Competed!

 

In 2017 Project Congo is partnered with the Italian non-profit Con Vista Sul Mondo (CVSM) to complete the Maternity Center at St. Vincent’s hospital in Bukavu, DRC.   Thanks to all our faithful Project Congo supporters, we successfully raised the funds as did CVSM and construction is is completed.  Project Congo members Jean McNamara and Dr Sylvia Esser-Gleason  along with members of ConVista Sul Mundo were able to attend the inauguration ceremony in February 2018. This facility will provide a much needed  safe,  sanitary and technologically up to date facility for mother and babies. A big thanks to all who helped make this dream happen!

Nurses celebrate the first baby born at the New Maternity Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Congo installs Laboratory at Centre Medico-Chirurgical de Goma

March 2017

Project Congo, in partnership with Worldwide Labs installed a new laboratory at Centre Medico-Chirurgical de Goma which will allow for diagnostic testing resulting in higher quality medical care for patients in Bukavu, DRC.   The lab includes microscopes, centrifuges, refrigerator, and a variety of test equipment all set up to run on car batteries.  This gives doctors the ability to perform blood and urine analysis both for their own patients, and as a service to other health facilities in the area (providing an income stream).

Worldwide Labs is a nonprofit based in Michigan that purchases and accepts donations of used quality laboratory equipment.  They completely refurbish the equipment and provide technicians to install it onsite and train doctors, nurses and lab techs.  James
Borody was the lab technician who installed the lab and provided training.  Prior to joining WWLabs, James spent 11 years living in Niger.  He speaks French fluently.

 

Project Congo and Con Vista Sul Mondo agree to jointly fund Maternity Center

September 2016

Project Congo and Con Vista Sul Mondo agreed today to partner in providing funds to St. Vincent Hospital in Bukavu to complete the second floor of the Maternity Center.

In February of this year, Project Congo and Con Vista Sul Mondo toured the Maternity Center and witnessed the damage to the first floor, which is functioning with patient rooms, a labor room and birthing room.  The damage is the result of the fact the second and third floor is exposed to the elements and during the rainy season, rain collects on the unprotected “roof” of the first floor.

A grant from the Heineken Foundation in the Netherlands seemed imminent at that time to complete the structure.  However, in August, St. Vincent was notified they would not be receiving funds from that source.

At that time, St. Vincent appealed to the Consortium.  We agreed to scale back the construction to one floor, and divide the cost.   St. Vincent would also look at how to pull the costs in.   The first stage agreed to is to enclose the structure to make it weatherproof.

Project Congo Enters Consortium Agreement

December 2015

St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bukavu has been supported over the years by two nonprofit organizations.  Project Congo is one, and the other is an Italian nonprofit called Con Vista Sul Mondo.   In many ways, Con Vista Sul Mondo is similar to Project Congo.  It is an all volunteer nonprofit with no paid personnel.  It has a medical focus and supports hospitals.  When volunteers travel to St. Vincents, they, like us, pay their own way and do not use donor funds.   They have a budget that is in the same ballpark as Project Congo.   They differ in that they have supported St. Vincents in ways we have not (or not been able to).  They have a wider range of volunteers including dentists and pharmacists.  And they have hosted St. Vincent doctors in Italy to train them to perform complicated gynecological repairs.

Con Vista Sul Mondo has a long history with St. Vincents.  They provided the funds for the main building almost 20 years ago.   More recently they provided funds to build a maternity unit.  That building is not completed, but the first floor is functional.  A volunteer dentist with Con Vista traveled to Bukavu with equipment and supplies and set up a dental clinic.   Then Con Vista funded several St. Vincent employees to travel to a hospital in Bujumbura, Burundi for dental training.   A volunteer pharmacist with Con Vista set up a compounding lab at St. Vincent, and trained at St. Vincent pharmacist to compound creams, salves, and drugs.  This reduces cost significantly and gives St. Vincent instant availability to medications.

At the urging of Dr. Jeff Mibi of St. Vincent’s, the Project Congo board decided in Q4 of 2015 to enter into a Consortium Agreement with Con Vista Sul Mondo and St. Vincent’s.   This agreement simply states that the three entities will strive to partner on projects together.  It does not bind us legally to participate in anything.   But it is a legal declaration that we intend to discuss and explore opportunities to work together.  Having discussed and signed this agreement, it is unlikely either Project Congo or Con Vista Sul Mondo will independently start a project without discussing it first with the other.   This alone will prevent each of us doing things that might overlap and waste resources.  And the prospect of partnering means we may be able to accomplish something neither of us could alone.

Burundi refugees flee to Congo

Pre-election violence in Burundi has started a refugee exodus to the DRC.  This may impact the clinics and hospitals we support.  Specifically, Don Bosco Ngangi has housed up to 12000 refugees during similar crises.  Project Congo is monitoring this situation and stocking medical supplies in anticipation it may worsen.   Click here to read about current events in Burundi.

Draft Law introduced to extend Kabila’s Rule

January 2015

Joseph Kabila, president of Democratic Republic of Congo is serving his last term in office.  He was the first democratically elected president in DRC history and has been in power for 16 years.   Elections for a new president are scheduled for December 2016.  However a draft law has been introduced that many consider a move to allow Kabila stay in power.   Read here about the reaction to this news.