“It was like we were in darkness and now we can see the light”. That’s how Helena (60) describes the help she has received from Ireland.
Helena (pictured above) is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the poorest countries in the world. People in the eastern regions of DRC, where Helena lives, face a lot of challenges. Snce last August they have a new risk to contend with: the Ebola virus.
The virus was detected there last August. It is now in two parts of the country, with roughly 600 cases identified.
Trócaire has been responding to the crisis since September. With the help of funding from Irish Aid, we have set-up hand washing facilities to reduce the spread of the virus. We have also worked with people to improve knowledge about how the virus spreads.
“We have learned how to protect ourselves,” says Helena. “We were told to wash our hands frequently and not to touch the person with the disease. These lessons have helped us to prevent the spread of the disease.”
The risk of Ebola is terrifying for everybody in the community. Helena and her family have already known tragedy and hardship. Three of her six children have died – a fate that is all too common in DRC.
For people like Helena, every day is a struggle for survival. Trócaire has been helping them long before Ebola.
Donations from Trócaire supporters allowed us to buy goats and solar lamps for Helena and her family.
“I can’t say enough how they brought us out of a dark hole,” she says. “The goats have helped us so much. We were able to feed our children. We were able to go to the market and even to sell a goat to pay for health care when our children got sick.
“With the solar lamps we are able to walk around at night. They helped us to light our homes. We are able to go to the hospital now – especially for the pregnant women during the night. It was too risky before but now it’s much safer.
“We feel grateful and sincerely thank Trócaire for this support.”