In December of 2016, at the end of an extensive period of research and discussion, our team convened in a small office space on the famous Las Vegan Sahara Avenue and filed with the Secretary of State's office in Nevada, marking the official birth of the Central African Relief Effort.
With little-to-no experience in fundraising, and few connections on the continent, the team had a rocky road ahead to achieving its first successes.
To say that fundraising for an infant charity was a struggle would be an understatement, but the C.A.R.E. team was resolute and determined. As our Director of Ground Operations tirelessly studied the region (from histories to languages) and our Director of Fundraising struggled to reach out to U.S. donors, the future began to seem bleak. Sleepless nights followed by early mornings, days filled with fruitless phone calls and failed appeals were frustrating and discouraging. Tensions rose as the team seemingly wasted away in idle hopes that the entire venture not collapse prior to the (at least partial) actualization of its goals.
But the team managed to gain momentum yet. A string of speaking engagements in local churches, a surge of activity surrounding a number of the charity's online campaigns, and a much needed bout of support from friends and connections of our founding team all culminated in a (long overdue) period of highly successful fundraising six months into the charity's lifespan (in May of 2017). This success yielded to planning for the organization's first ground initiative. The Director of Ground Operations' proficiency in conversational Swahili, coupled with a strong connection to UK-Based NGO 'The Mustard Seed Project" made the Kilifi County in Kenya a logical choice of location for a supply-and-support mission designed to provide simple, effective relief and streamline our methodology.
Through this mission, initiated in the summer of 2017, C.A.R.E. fed a school of 250 students in Kilifi for four months with donor-backed food resources (maizemeal and rice for cooking Ugali, as well as beans and cooking oil), as well as providing new educational resources and toys.
For more on this mission, see the Fox 5 interview with our organization's Vice President and Director of Fundraising, Erick Rodriguez, below.
The Congo Mission
With our domestic backend fundraising methodology refined and front-end Continental network more firmly established, our team was ready to advance toward a more ambitious, long-term initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The most devastating conflict on the planet since World War II (in terms of human toll) has raged across the East Congo for the last 20 years, killing at least 5.4 million Congolese and displacing tens of millions.
This conflict has been underwritten by Western demand for a metal called columbite-tantalite (informally 'coltan'). Columbite-tantalite is a necessary metal in the development of all smart technology. The technological revolution throughout the Global North has been paid for in the blood of the Congolese, whose home is ravaged by coerced labor, militia violence, and mass-rape (upwards of 60% of women in the East Congo have reported violent rape).
For more information on this tragic global inequality, please read our "Congo Report".
In March of 2018, after several rounds of fundraising initiatives, our Director of Ground Operations and Congolese Director of Operations began work on the ground in the East toward the development of an educational boarding facility to accommodate those orphaned by the conflicts, provide asylum and rehabilitation outside the world of coercive coltan extraction, and present an engaging political education in the history of the Congo and the path to peace and prosperity. Our team worked while on the ground to document the coercive mining conditions in the East (see our Congo Report) and begin the preliminary stages of development on the project.
The sorry reality for the people of the East Congo is a direct consequence of the wealth and development that people in the West enjoy. To see both sides of this coin has weighed on our team greatly, calling into question every fleeting joy and small pleasure that we know to obscure immense suffering.
In the spirit of this sober understanding, we push forward always in the furtherance of our aim of empowering Congolese youth by giving them the tools they need to stand tall and reverse the system of inequality that holds their communities in fetters. Consider supporting our mission.
Sylvain Muyali Mumbesa
Congolese Operational Director
President & Director of Ground Operations
Vice President & Director of Fundraising
Director of E-Commerce
Director of Media - CARE Intl Film Awards Festival Director
Director of Donor Relations
It is through the lessons learned and lives touched in the last year that we press on in our mission of empowering Africans, providing education, and ending conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa. Please visit "Our Future" to learn more about what we plan for the organization's future and how we will leverage our connections and growth, and, above all else, please consider leaving a donation of any amount, to help us achieve the dream of empowering the children of the Congo with security and education.
Visit "Gallery" for more photos of our Domestic and International operations.
Join the Fight
Our ongoing mission of empowering Africans and providing education is impossible without your help. Make a generous contribution today and become an integral part of the war against abject poverty and untimely death.