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This year, the Piarist solidarity campaign is to take on a new and exciting challenge: we are turning our attention and efforts to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country in the heart of Africa that embodies, perhaps more so than any other, the strength, wealth and dreams of the entire continent, but also its severe problems and its injustices.

The Piarists reached the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2014 in order to bring to this corner of the world the educational, social and pastoral mission initiated by Calasanz, which is so very crucial here.  The mission’s presence starts out small (in the capital Kinshasa and in Kikonka), although it is set to bring about great results, and  will be spread to other places in the country. Nowadays, Pious Schools within the DRC are part of  a Piarist province of Central Africa, together with Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, countries that, in themselves, are experiencing a growth dynamic  in the mission, and in which Itaka-Escolapios has also long been present, accompanying this process and boosting numerous projects.

Due to this, it is now necessary to give a strong supportive impulse to the mission in the Congo and this campaign is a great opportunity for doing so. We want to raise awareness around the important work that the Piarists are already doing in this country, and also around the plans for this work to grow in the future. However, this will only be possible if we can count on the support of those who feel co-responsible for this great task.

The Piarist mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo takes place under a particularly difficult context, because of the great political instability and the persistence of severe shortages for the majority of its population. It is precisely for this reason that the need for this work to be done is so great.  Let us not forget that the DRC is among the lowest countries on the Human Development Index (in 176th place of 189), which is painful evidence of how the country’s vast and rich natural resources do not benefit its people. On the contrary, these very resources are the cause of inequalities, unfair exploitation, social conflicts and wars that persist as a consequence of powerful interest from outside the country.

Nevertheless, the reality of the DRC does not, fortunately, come down to just this. The DRC possesses great cultural and human potential owing to those who aspire to create a better future, one which must be built on a foundation of education. As an example of how much it can teach to the world we have the rhythm of their music, a language which can so easily cross borders and connect people, communities, and more. As such, music will play an important role throughout this campaign which will bring us much closer to Itaka-Escolapios through the rhythm of their music.

True to the motto of this program, the solidarity campaign places the challenges and needs of the Piarist mission in the D.R. Congo IN YOUR HANDS (or in our hands), and, with it, the dreams of so many  children and young people, who are the real protagonists of our projects there. So, thanks to the participation and solidarity of the entire Itaka-Escolapios network, both boys and girls can have, in their hands, the future they deserve.