The first project of the Foundation Cariello Corbino is the Gazelles de Silvana – an Orphanage in Rugari – Nord Kivu, in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Orphanage Gazelles pour la Vie de Tous – Rugari, Nord Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, is being renamed les Gazelles de Silvana – centre pour le soutien de l’infance et des jeunes (support center for childhood and youth).
The Democratic Republic of Congo has potential to become one of the wealthiest countries worldwide. In fact, its corrupt political class is stinky wealthy indeed, because of an exclusive exploitation of the huge mineral resources (gold, diamonds, oil, coal, copper, wood), with criminal collusions (link).
UNEP (UN environment agency) reckons that around 98% of the illegal exploitation profits of the natural resources – in particular gold, coal and wood – ends up in the pockets of international criminal organisations, operating in and out of the country.
In North Kivu, the region where the Foundation decided to operate, in 2004 there was a serious conflict between central government and rebels, that burst into a civil war with dead in the thousands, lootings and kidnappings of youngsters to serve the rebel troops.
In December 2017, days after our second mission, a rebel attack at the blue helmets UN force local stronghold caused 14 dead and 50 wounded. UN classifies the area among the four riskiest ones on the planet.
Passy Mahano, a medical science student, daughter of a ranger of the Virunga National Park, witnessed herself the horrors of the war when she was younger and left the school to help the local orphans in 2013.
She did it almost all by herself, thanks to a small support of a rural local community, living in very precarious conditions in Rugari, in a wooden shack with a growing number of children. Passy was remarkably determined and found out that a Swiss philanthropist, Marlene Zähner was financing a training centre for anti-poaching dogs (Congo hounds) in the National Park of Virunga. The local rangers made happen the meeting between these two brave women, and some sort of miracle was achieved: Marlene began to support the children and their living conditions improved dramatically.
There were 56 children to feed (63 up to date), to send to school and occasionally to give them medications, a burden that was a bit too much for a Marlene and the small Charity Dodobahati Foundation
Luckily, Helen Pope, an Australian mutual friend, introduced Marlene to Alberto Corbino, current president of the Charity Foundation, who wished to build an orphanage-school in memory of his mother Silvana, recently departed.
On January 24, 2017 (the day after setting up the Charity Foundation), Alberto flew to RD Congo to meet personally Passy and the children and to overview the situation.
Alberto decided on the spot to support the project, because everybody has a right to live a dream.
In just a few months, two lots of land were acquired in Rumangabo, a safe area South of the National Park of Virunga, close to the entrance of the wonderful Mikeno lodge. The plan is to build sound and advanced buildings, about 400 sqm. in total, integrated with the surrounding areas: 2 dormitories, 1 canteen, 1 school, 1 guest house, 1 first aid infirmary, 1 lab and an outdoor area to grow vegetables and to breed livestock (a project by arch. Riccardo Pedone, Napoli).
The 63 children will have secured not only survival, but also a decent and independent future. To achieve such goal, the Cariello Corbino Foundation in March 2017 submitted an application a 4-year project valued € 80,000 to Virunga Alliance to top up with same amount, counting on its partnership between public and private investments in the National Park of Virunga, with a rule to devolve 30% of tourism profits to social projects. Despite the Virunga Foundation appreciated the project, it could not approve the financing, because it is involved in far bigger projects like electricity supply to the entire Park, fighting the poachers, the safeguard of boarders from the rebels.
Cariello Corbino Foundation was not disheartened by the rejection and decided to carry on the project on its own, looking for partnerships in Italy and abroad for a broader project of € 110,000 (besides the land already bought) to build the Les Gazelles de Silvana – support centre for of childhood and youth. We tend to dislike a bit the very word orphanage as we wish the children to have a positive self-perception, hence the renaming to Les Gazelles de Silvana, aiming to become a pilot project for that area of Congo, a place of joy and growth for the children and the overall local community.
We may be just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made of drops indeed!
If you like what we try to achieve, please give us a helping hand.
If you want to know more, contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Grazie! / Thank you!
Please, help us supporting the Gazelles’ dreams to enjoy a safer present and a brighter future: everyone deserves to dream!