Growing up in France, I always had a love of languages, and tackled both English and Spanish in school. In the six months I spent working in Bosnia, I picked up enough of the local language to hold down a decent conversation. I always thought I would end up living somewhere where I could use one of my learned languages. And yet, I find myself here in the DRC, speaking my native French.
I live and work in the province of Katanga, in the south-east of DRC, working as the livelihoods programme manager with Concern. I have lived in many countries around the world, including Cameroon, the Philippines and Ukraine, but DRC is the most difficult and challenging place I’ve ever experienced. It is also one of the most rewarding.
DRC is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 176 out of 188 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (2015). More than 85% of the population live on less than $1.25 per day, and only 26% of the population has access to clean, safe water.
Where I live, Manono territory, has experienced a resurgence in conflict in recent years. This has led to a huge homelessness crisis, with people being forced to flee from their homes and villages in search of safety. Across the country, there is an estimated 2.8 million people displaced from their homes because of violence.