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Brussels launches fundraiser and collection for eastern Congo

10:12 29/03/2024

The City of Brussels has launched a large-scale fundraising campaign aimed at proiding clothes and other essentials to the people of eastern Congo, a region that has been gripped by ongoing violence for decades.

With the situation escalating as M23 rebels take control in parts of eastern Congo, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee, Brussels politicians say there is an urgent need to collect items.

The fundraiser is being organised by the SOSRDCONGO and will run until Wednesday 3 April. The action may be extended depending on the number of items collected.

“The aim of the fundraiser is to collect financial and material resources for the people in eastern Congo,” said coordinator Dido Lakama.

The collection point will be in Palace 1 of Brussels Expo (pictured) after the space was opened at the request of mayor Philippe Close. Donations can be brought daily between 12.00 and 20.00.

“The people in eastern Congo really lack everything,” said alderwoman for equal opportunities Lydia Mutyebele. “They have no toothpaste, clothes or food.”

Mutyebele denounced the international community's lack of a clear position on the conflict, calling on Belgium’s foreign minister Hadja Lahbib to take a stand against the acts of violence by rebel group M23.

“There must be strong diplomatic condemnation,” she said.

Collections have already begun at Brussels Expo. Volunteer Neneth Massangi, of Congolese origin, told RTBF that she was eager to assist with the collection.

“It's very important because the people in the East didn't ask for war,” said Massangi.

“They are in very complicated situations. But as long as we can lend a hand, we shouldn't wait. We do, we act because we have the opportunity to do so.”

Desired items include medicines, tents, tarpaulins, hygiene products, clothes and shoes.

“And above all, the most effective thing is really financial donations, because it costs less to send money than equipment, but all donations are welcome,” said Dido Lakam, spokesperson for collective organising the initiative.

“I've been there myself, I've seen the camps. Even the dogs here in Brussels don't live like that. It's horrible. And the problem is that there are more and more displaced people. That's why it's so important to get involved now.”

Written by Helen Lyons