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Oxfam: Sewing In Congo

Oxfam on Democratic Republic of the Congo
Today I'm going to be discussing something a little different for my blog. I've recently partnered up with Oxfam to help bring awareness to the important issues of Congo and to help share people's stories. As a modern day citizen it's really easy to get sucked into shiny new things and glamorous items but not everyone has the same lifestyle we do. 


The Democratic Republic of Congo (or DRC) is slowly recovering from years and years of conflict. A war-torn country that has been deeply affected by violence and conflict, the after effects of which still plague this extremely troubled country.

Many people have fled the violence in search of safety for their family. There are over 55,000 people in Kibati camp, many fled with nothing but their lives. Oxfam provides water for the camp, which is vital for everyday life, but people often have no way to provide for their families.

Hubert and Marceline managed to take one important possession with them; their sewing machine.
Oxfam on Sewing In The Democratic Republic of the Congo
When 26 year old Hubert, fled his home in Kimbumba with his family, he was petrified of what might happen to them; shots were being fired and they had to leave immediately. During the frantic moments in which he left he was worried about how he would feed his family on arrival to Kibati camp? He made the tough decision to carry his heavy Singer sewing machine, which has been his means to survive for over a year. 


“I knew I had to take it with me, how else would I put food on the table? I was here back in 2009 without any means to survive and I did not want to put my family in this situation again”, says Hubert sewing a tattered garment by the side of the road leading into the Kibati camp.

“Business is not good here because people have nothing. I charge very little, 100 Congolese francs (approx 8p) for my services but it is at least enough to make sure my wife, my two children and my mum all eat once a day.”

Oxfam on Sewing In The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Marceline Habyarimana is a tailor. Like Hubert, she too fled the fighting with her sewing machine, carrying the old Singer machine on her head. Her husband carried the table with the foot pedal that operates the machine.

Congolese are fond of tailored clothes, often made out of very bright wax printed cloth. Marceline charges about 1,500 Congolese Francs to make a dress (less than £1.50). Her clients are mostly from Goma town, they tend to bring the cloth and she tailors. Other people in the camp rarely have enough money to hire her services.


Oxfam provides water for the 55,000 people at Kibati camp. The camp formed as tens of thousands fled fighting between the new rebel group and Congolese forces. People in the camp included those fleeing forced recruitment, harassment, food shortages and clashes of violence in their home towns.

Oxfam also helps by providing sanitation equipment and hygiene essentials in an emergency. The award-winning ‘Oxfam bucket’ includes essentials from soap to sanitary towels, to help people who may have lost everything to stay clean and healthy.

Most importantly, Oxfam encourages national initiatives and increased regional and international political engagement which has led to important advances and new agreements to resolve conflict and insecurity in Congo. Oxfam also run training sessions to teach people new skills such as sewing, tailoring and, basket making.
Oxfam on Sewing In The Democratic Republic of the Congo


£2.50 can provide 25 water treatment sachets to a family in an emergency. This is enough to make around 500 litres of water safe: enough to last a family of four for a month.

£5 can provide 20 Award winning ‘Oxfam buckets’ which allow people to access clean water without risk of contamination by dirt and disease, as it has a closable lid and a tap.

Why Is Regular Giving Important?

Donations are vital to Oxfam's work because it allows them to respond to emergencies and stay to help people rebuild their lives. They also work on the root causes of poverty, and that takes time and effort, but it is so worth it!

Remember a regular donation to Oxfam can assist and empower those in the most vulnerable situations.

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