The Promise of a Better Future
Letter to Friends around the World # 85

Kindele Rural Association for Community Development teaches unemployed young people how to regain their place in society.

The main cause of poverty in our country is the population explosion. Resources have not kept pace with the growth of the population so people go hungry for lack of sufficient food and young people feel they have no future. Discouragement has never helped anyone succeed.

One way to addressing the situation has been the setting up of groups in the informal sector. Certainly small projects themselves will not transform the country, but they are a promising sign. They point to a better future as illustrated by our experience through the Kindele Association which brings together young people from a neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital.

We formed teams on three different sites with 35 young people who were unemployed, victims of social exclusion,made poor by injustices and all kinds of violence. Their activity is small-scale market gardening projects which are run as cooperatives. Forming small groups is said to be the best option for those of very limited possibilities.

Initially we help them learn how to work together effectively in groups. Each member must do his / her part. The success of the enterprise requires the unqualified contribution of each member. This means that each young person must contribute to the different tasks: preparing the soil, sowing, harvesting and all the other jobs necessary before marketing the products to consumers.

In this group work, sharing and actively participating in the community project are important. As victims of violence, these young people have had no one to stand by them. Living in deep poverty and suffering many deprivations, they easily fell into anxiety, agitation and violence. Feeling themselves rejected it was difficult for them to be at peace. And as a way of rebelling against the society that gave them birth and then rejected them, they took to the streets where they became 'street children' rather than 'children in the street'. People regarded them as the dregs of society and held them responsible for any problems. They were seen as delinquents,trouble-makers, reckless-'Kuluna'.

The young people were unable to go to school because they did not have either the means or the appropriate clothing. Thanks to the market gardening project started by the Association, gradually the young people are beginning to feel that they do have a place in society. With the sale of their fresh produce, some of the young people are starting to go to school, resolving their day-to-day problems and feeding their families.

All of this serves to help them to become aware of the many possibilities that the Association is opening up for them. To date, more than 20 young people have regained their independence by creating activities whereby they can develop and support themselves on a piece of their own land.

From time to time, a technical team visits them to follow up and evaluate how the projects are developing.

Mr Jean PH.D,

President of the Kindele Rural Association for Community Development

The Democratic Republic of the Congo