Helping people to help themselves in South Kivu, Congo

Simply help sustainably with seeds, chickens or a goat

We help people to help themselves. The project participants receive a loan in the form of seeds, chickens or a goat. With this, they can farm for two years and build up a basis for themselves, for example for a business.
Many of our project participants are victims of war violence, others are individuals and families who are in particularly great need. The project aims to support them quickly, concretely and sustainably – we want to give them a perspective for securing their livelihood. In doing so, our project participants also keep the project itself running: They give part of what they earn in two years back to the project so that other participants can benefit from it.

Four models that improve the lives of individuals

Join in! You can easily help us to give people in South Kivu a perspective: Buy seeds, chickens, ducks or goats.
Each model helps to achieve three goals: First – The lives of individuals are improved. Second – Our project participants are encouraged to become independent and to take responsibility in the project. Third – Our project participants take on a key role for the next participant in the project, so that they are motivated to do well.
With your donation you enable more than one person to start again.

5 KG of seeds
15,00 €
2 hens + 1 rooster
45,00 €
2 ducks + 1 drake
60,00 €
1 goat
75,00 €

At the beginning, one participant receives a rooster and two hens. She now has the option of either selling eggs or raising young chickens and selling them. After one year, she must either return a young chicken from her brood or the hen she got at the beginning. After another year, the second hen and the rooster are also to be returned. The returned animals will then be given to a new participant by our organisation. She is allowed to keep all the bred animals and can continue farming with them.
In this way, the participants have two years of livelihood and development of this farming activity, which then forms the basis for a new economy.

Harvest time!

The African aubergine is ripe.

It was that time again in our field: the African aubergine is ripe! The African aubergine (Solanum aethiopicum), also called scarlet aubergine, bitter tomato, gilo or jiló, is a herbaceous plant grown mainly in Africa and Brazil. In tropical Africa, it is the third vegetable eaten after tomatoes and onions. Fruits and leaves are eaten and are very nutritious. In Kitutu, about 25 km from Kamituga, there is a cultivation field next to our seed field, where we grow cabbage, tomatoes, onions and just the African aubergine. The diversity of vegetable varieties makes it possible to effectively counteract the often one-sided diet of the local population, which is particularly widespread among the very poor. Through the accompanied farming, in which our agronomist teaches the participants the basics and skills of successful farming, they are put in a position to effectively counter malnutrition by their own efforts.

Ready… Set… Go!

Managing old and new tasks in the field

The tractor and driver were there and had all kinds of trouble making the leased piece of land arable. In the east of Congo, as in most parts of the country, the poorly developed infrastructure is a central problem, which not only makes everything one undertakes laborious, but also slows down or even prevents much of the country’s development. As every year, it was not easy for us to get the tractor at all, and then to bring it to the spot. The increased oil price and the international disruption of supply chains due to the war in Ukraine also created new challenges for the fuel supply. Once again, it is the poorer countries that suffer first and sustainably. Thanks to his good connections, Hansen was able to reserve 80 litres of diesel fuel and brought it to the tractor in jerrycans, one by one, by motorbike. Due to the heavy rain, the ploughing had to be postponed several times. But in the end everything worked out! The field is tilled, our agronomist René MBILIZI is satisfied with the result achieved and his students were also able to learn a lot.

Water shortage in the Congo – a headache for many families

A country with thousands of rivers but a population short of water

It sounds crazy: the Democratic Republic of Congo is a country to which the river has not only given its name. The Congo River, which encircles the country from east to west, is the second longest river in Africa with a length of 4374 km. Measured by its water flow of 41,800 m³/s, it is the continent’s most water-rich river and, at 220 m deep, even the deepest river in the world. In addition, the country borders the region of Africa’s great lakes, of which Lake Tanganyika alone is the length of Great Britain when measured from north to south. And here it comes: the population of Congo suffers from a lack of water, especially in the cities!

In Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu region, and in Goma, the capital of the North Kivu region, two cities on the state border with Rwanda and separated by Lake Kivu, you have to walk more than two kilometres to find water. It is often the task of children to provide the family with water on a daily basis.

Local capital BUKAVU: Waiting to fill your jerry can with water

This leads to the children having to set out at dawn to fetch water. An arduous task, considering that a filled jerry can weighs more than 20kg and cannot be ergonomically carried on the back. In addition, the children often miss valuable school time when there are unexpected delays at the water points, for example when once again only a little water runs out of the tap. And there is something else: the children are at increased risk of becoming victims of violent crime, especially in the early hours of the morning when it is still dark.

Since the supply of clean drinking water is a basic need, it should actually be one of the most urgent tasks of the government to ensure that the population has easy access to water. As it is so often the case in countries with great poverty and high corruption, people are left to fend for themselves.

Making ends meet – somehow…

Children’s place is neither on the street, nor in the factory, nor in mines, but in school and on the playground!

Somehow making ends meet is anything but easy due to the special situation in Congo. The many and above all long-lasting crises, often repeated displacement and above all the acute poverty leave many families no choice: they send their children out to earn a few pennies to provide for their families. And so they constantly catch your eye, the children selling small goods like fruit, eggs or peanuts. Some of them are out on the streets until late at night.

Many children tell us that they do this either because they have nothing to eat at home, because they are orphans and therefore on their own, or to pay their school fees, or because some parents do not care about them. In addition to their difficult fate, they are repeatedly victims of accidents or violent crimes.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child rightly ascribes not only the fundamental human rights to all children, but also explicitly names their special need for protection and their very own needs and interests. For example, the right to leisure time, the right to education and also the right to protection from violence.

Un enfant sur la route à Kamituga Sud - Kivu portant banane sur sa tête pour vente
Very common: a little boy sells bananas

The Congolese constitution has also explicitly enshrined these children’s rights. Articles 50-56 of the Law for the Protection of Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo make both parents and the Congolese state responsible for granting children these basic rights.

In Kamituga, there is no prohibition in this regard. And so we witness many children running around on the streets with small goods. The municipality let it happen. Yet the chances for a better future, especially for this region, clearly correlate with the number of children going to school.

Where there is a will there is always a way

A girl with a disability but without a handicap

Would you like to hear my story? I’ll be happy to tell you.

I am Madeleine Kasiba, I am 13 years old and the third oldest in our family. I was born with a weak hip, which is why I have a walking disability. This is sometimes hard for me because I can’t run and jump like the other children and often have to rely on help. But I have accepted this for myself: I am the way I am.

Unfortunately, I experience stigmatisation again and again, and I suffer the most when it comes from my own family. Especially the discrimination when it comes to whether I am allowed to be educated or not.

I always stay at home to look after the house and my younger siblings. Some of my siblings and my father didn’t want me to go to school either. But I wanted to go to school like other children my age. Fortunately, my mother always insisted that I should go to school too. So I was enrolled in a school near our house, called EP MASANGANO. The headmistress liked me very much. The school fees were a recurring topic in my family. My parents sometimes had difficulties paying the fees. Very often I was afraid that I would be taken out of school because of this.

When I was in fourth grade, we got in touch with Mr. Hansen Kaseke, the director of Tree for Hope and Life. He brought us school materials and paid the school fees for 25 children who, like me, came from families that were very poor and could not pay the money themselves. Since that day, the fear is gone and I could learn again freely and with the joy I always had! I was able to finish primary school without paying a penny. Today I attend secondary school in the seventh grade. I will continue as long as I have the opportunity and the support I need. I will one day become either an obstetrician or a computer specialist to help others like me be useful in the community. My thanks go to the friends and donors locally and in Germany who make it possible for us to learn and realise our childhood dreams.

Mady Kasiba

Life in plastic – not fantastic!

Our school children now get involved and learn in the process

Hansen has been annoyed for a long time that used plastic bags are lying around everywhere. Being a resourceful guy, he seized the opportunity right away: he started a project in the school class that tackles the problem and at the same time sensitises the children to the issue of environmental protection. The children, whose education is supported by TreeForLife, earn part of their school fees by making paper bags that are sold to local traders. The traders then sell their goods in the bags. And the children have fun making them!

Admittedly, the project is probably only a drop in the ocean – but it is as well widely known that even the longest journey begins with the first step!

Unfortunately, we currently lack the financial means to continue this project. Material such as paper, glue and parcel string have to be bought. But it will be quickly reactivated when there is money again.

In Congo, environmental protection was regulated by law and the use of plastic bags actually is prohibited, but the implementation is not controlled and alternatives do not exist. Thus, the Congolese use plastic bags for the daily transport of their shopping and other goods, which are then thrown away after use and dispersed by the wind in all directions.

To be fair, the South Kivu region has been a war and crisis zone for more than 25 years. The population is plagued by marauding rebel groups and state structures are almost non-existent. Often, local people are concerned with daily life and survival, and environmental protection is understandably not a top priority.

In addition, there is no waste collection or collection points where people can get rid of their rubbish, as in many European countries. Plastic waste is then often thrown into the rivers and thus the problem is only shifted.

The story of TreeForHope

The region in eastern Congo is considered one of the most crisis-ridden regions in the world. To this day, there are reports of rebel groups invading villages almost at random, raping and pillaging.
The reason is the wealth of mineral resources in the region, especially the occurrence of gold and the so-called „rare earths“ – the raw materials that are needed worldwide for the production of flat screens and memory chips. Rebel groups secure access to the raw material deposits and use them to finance weapons and equipment. Corruption and violence serve as a cover-up. Those who suffer are the local people. It is a sad irony: the people literally live on a mountain full of valuable raw materials and are – precisely because of this – desperately poor.
We have set ourselves the goal of providing good support for all projects. For this purpose, we have equipped Hansen with a digital camera, a laptop and a motorbike. He visits every single project at regular intervals and reports promptly on the progress of each project!

The faces of TreeForHope

We met in 2009 when we worked together for the German aid organisation “ Cap Anamur – German Emergency Doctors“ in the region around Kamituga. We became friends. At the end of our time together, we decided to continue our work and to set up a project to help people who have been particularly affected by fate or are in special need.



Co-founder, homepage and fundraising | Lives in Strasbourg, Alsace | Patrick has a degree in theology and coaching and has studied sustainable development cooperation. In 2009/2010, he led the construction of a hospital for the German humanitarian organisation Cap Anamur e.V. on site.



Co-founder, Project Manager | Lives in Bukavu, the provincial capital of the South Kivu region | Hansen studied English and African cultural studies and is also politically active locally. He repeatedly denounces corruption and mismanagement by the local authorities, which does not only win him friends. Hansen has a strong organisational talent and a distinct gift for finding good, just and viable solutions.



Co-founder, coordination and monitoring | Grit is a nurse and trained coordinator in international project management. She has worked in numerous medical emergency and aid projects on the African continent. In 2010, for example, she worked on site for the German humanitarian organisation Cap Anamur e.V., training and further educating local staff in nursing and organisational procedures.


A small amount that can permanently improve a life

Note: While the organisation is still small, Patrick has agreed to receive and forward donations to a sub-account. Therefore, we are not yet able to issue a donation receipt. We ask for your understanding for this circumstance. Thank you very much. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email.

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