DR Congo: Access to essential household items brings relief to displaced women

Alphonsine after receiving her essential household items
Monday, August 21, 2023

By Rodrigue Harakandi, Communications Officer

"I was living in Kichanga, about 150 km north-west of Goma, selling doughnuts to support my children. Suddenly, at around 10AM in the morning, war broke out and everyone fled. I took my 8 children with me and we headed for the crowds. We walked for 4 days to reach Goma. My youngest children were carried by their older brothers and sisters. When we arrived, we all had swollen legs, we were thirsty and very hungry", says Alphonsine Kahindo, a displaced woman living in the Rusayo camp, north of the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In recent years, the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been affected by armed conflicts that have caused the deaths of thousands of people and forced thousands more to flee their homes. More than 800,000 people have been displaced to the north of the city of Goma as a result of these conflicts.

Committed to helping vulnerable people in need of relief, World Vision has launched its response with the financial support of the DR Congo Humanitarian Fund. This response consists mainly of essential household items. The project has provided 3,560 households with kits comprising blankets, basins, empty jerrycans, soap, kitchen utensils, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and tarpaulins. These tools enable households taking part in the programme to meet their basic needs in terms of hygiene, health and food security.

"World Vision's help was vital for me because, before receiving the kit, I had problems to store water in my household and I was always forced to borrow the neighbour's saucepan to prepare food for my children. What's more, I was ashamed to go to church on Sundays because I felt badly dressed and less clean. But when I opened the kit, I found clothes with which I can go to public places with dignity", adds Alphonsine.

"What I liked most about the kit was the soap with which I wash myself and I'm really clean. Since my mother received the kit, I've been able to sleep comfortably," says Eliya, 8, Alphonsine's son.

"Displaced people who do not receive aid in the form of essential household kits can face many survival difficulties. This can lead to a deterioration in their health and quality of life, while increasing their vulnerability to other risks and threats," said Ignace Kavanga, World Vision's Response Project Manager. 

The Rusayo camp is home to hundreds of thousands of people. This assistance increases the dignity and self-esteem of women. Displaced women often have limited access to basic necessities, including personal hygiene products. By providing hygiene kits, we help restore their sense of dignity and self-esteem, allowing them to maintain personal cleanliness and feel better about themselves.Good hygiene is crucial for maintaining good health, particularly in settings where access to clean water and sanitation facilities may be limited. Hygiene kits typically include items like soap, sanitary pads, toothbrushes, and clean water containers, which can significantly contribute to preventing infections and maintaining overall well-being. As the needs are still enormous, World Vision is calling on donors, partners and all people of goodwill to take action to help improve the living conditions of these suffering communities in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.