Kevin traveled to Goma, DR Congo in mid-June to conduct a creative writing workshop with HEAL Africa focused on Mountain Gorillas. Kevin taught creative writing and conservation to nearly 30 students who attend the Mugunga Primary School, a school for orphans, refugees, and persecuted minorities. During the workshop, a group of local actors performed a series of skits to teach the students about the importance of conservation. The class also took their first-ever field trip to visit two young gorillas at a reserve in Virunga National Park. These two gorillas became the focus of the stories written during the workshop.
Kevin also worked with students attending the Tungane School at the hospital run by HEAL Africa in Goma. HEAL Africa provides these students with an opportunity for an education while they stay at the hospital, either to receive treatment themselves or because members of their families are receiving treatment. To learn more about the workshop, read about it on our blog: Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books Blog!
Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park. Home to more than half of the world’s 700 remaining mountain gorillas, the park is a precious natural habitat. Unfortunately, the park features remote and rugged mountain terrain that attracts militant groups. But it is not just guerrillas that are threatening Virunga’s gorillas. Rapid deforestation is occurring as the local population harvests trees for fuel and illegal mining and the bushmeat trade also bring pressure to the region. Even natural disasters are a challenge: a volcano eruption recently threatened a group of rare chimpanzees living in the area.
In a region that has suffered from decades of civil war and extreme gender-based violence, HEAL Africa’s hospital in Goma has provided life-saving treatment not only for rape victims, but also for women who suffer from fistulas caused by complications during childbirth. Dot-to -Dot Children’s Books worked with a school administered at a hospital to conduct creative writing activities to help generate content for a children’s book. The children at Tungane School may have been living at a hospital, but their spirits were bright and thanks to Mama Beatrice, they clearly enjoyed the opportunity to get an education. Dot-to-Dot Children’s Books also worked at the Mugunga School just outside of Goma, which provides an education to refugees, orphans, and pygmies.