* Date : 2014-07-16
Democratic Republic of the Congo, the land of poverty and disease
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most impoverished nations in Africa. Its people struggle to survive in the country that has been devastated by endless civil wars. Many of them suffer from diseases as they have no access to health care. With so much uncertainty and suffering in their lives, the people of Congo end up giving up on hope.
Korea used to be in a similar situation in the past. It used to be one of the poorest nations in the world that had to rely on help from other countries. But now, six decades later, it is one of the world's ten largest economies. Korea and its people have been lending a helping hand to Congo to help its people regain hope.
Laurent's dream: Build a clinic in his hometown
Laurent is the seventh among the eight children in his family. He was born in East Kasai in the eastern part of Congo. As a child, he wanted to become a doctor, but he had to quit his studies because of a large civil war that broke out in 1998 when he was in high school. He had to walk for two months to find refuge in the Congolese capital-city of Kinshasa. The future looked completely bleak to the boy before he met Korean pastor Seon Jong-chul. With his help, Laurent was able to study medicine and pediatrics at the University of Kinshasa, and now he takes care of his patients at a local clinic. Ten years after leaving his hometown, Laurent still thinks about it every day. It is a destitute area without electricity and tap water, and its AIDS contamination rate is the highest in Congo. Laurent's dream is to return to his hometown set up a clinic for its residents.
Willy's dream: Build the future with taekwondo
Willy is a 20-year-old man from Congo. He lost his parents when he was little. Now he lives with his elder sister in the vicinity of Kinshasa. Willy had to drop out of elementary school because of poverty. He makes his living by selling alcohol and cigarettes in the backstreets of Kinshasa. One day, he met Korean taekwondo instructor Chung Jae-young. Willy's life began to change in January 2012 when a taekwondo school opened at a local church. He became completely engrossed in taekwondo, and now his dream is to have his own taekwondo school. He trains hard to win taekwondo competitions held annually in Kinshasa.
The dream of poor farmer Akima
The Korean Project of International Agriculture carried out by Korea's Rural Development Administration is aimed at helping developing countries solve their food shortage problems and improve their agricultural production by teaching them how to find the right crops and use advanced agricultural technologies. The 54-year-old farmer Akima Atu Kashama Jaque, who lives near the KOPIA Center's farm in Congo, has five sons and two daughters. But providing for his family and paying for his children's education by cultivating vegetables is not enough. Akima's biggest hope now is to learn agricultural technologies from the KOPIA Center.