The recent history of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been one of civil war and corruption. The war claimed up to six million lives, either as a direct result of fighting, or because of disease and malnutrition.
ighting was fuelled by the country’s vast mineral wealth, with all sides taking advantage of the anarchy to plunder natural resources, leaving many people battling poverty and extreme hunger. The horrific abuse, including rape and sexual slavery, endured during the war led to an advance in HIV and AIDS in DRC.
However, things are looking up. Typically, Sure Chill vaccine refrigerators store human vaccines, but they also work perfectly well for storing veterinary vaccines. This story uncovers how our technology is helping families affected by AIDS in DRC protect their animals and their livelihood. We spoke to charity AFCA and Elikya Centre in Gemena to find out more.
The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) was established to provide treatment to children with AIDS. The charity has made huge improvements in providing medicine for HIV and AIDS, delivering it free of charge to clinics throughout Africa. Fast forward ten years, AFCA are facing another battle: famine.
An estimated 1,500 children in DRC struggle to provide for themselves. AFCA train those affected by AIDS and their families in livestock production and agriculture, so they can live sustainable lives. By learning to keep and look after animals that produce milk, eggs and meat, it gives the families nutritional security, as well as financial self-sufficiency.
Sure Chill helps AFCA change lives
In 2015, the AFCA procured a Sure Chill solar powered vaccine refrigerator for their project at the Elykia Centre in Gemena, DRC.
The refrigerator is being used for the storage of the veterinary vaccines and antibiotics at the centre.
We asked Elikya Centre Director Ir J.Pierre Ndanda to explain why the farm is so important to tackling hunger and poverty: “We use the vaccines for animals at the user’s home and at the farm. The role of the farm for the local community is to feed and bring in financial income (medical care, schooling of children, clothing, family equipment) to the local community; animals generate income by breeding, thus a food and financial self-sufficiency.”
As the only Solar Vaccine Refrigerator in a remote area, the community has benefitted greatly. Ndanda tells us,“It was a huge problem before, there were high levels of avoidable deaths.’
‘Thank God for the refrigerator, because the vaccines have enabled us to wipe out viral diseases such as Avian Plague and Newcastle Disease.”
Ndanda reflects, “The mortality rate of animals; chicken, sheep and goats due to plague disease is significantly reduced.”
Sure Chill protects vaccines in even the most remote locations, keeping them perfectly cool. Ndanda explains why he thinks the refrigerator is so unique,
“Its automatic operation; always keeping vaccines within the safe range of 2-8°C without need for human intervention. This is a great advantage.”
AFCA director, Tanya Weaver, speaks of how the fridge has helped: “We are so grateful for the great customer service and product provided by Sure Chill.”
“Being the only solar fridge in the area, the community has benefitted beyond words. Animals are healthier, meaning the livelihoods projects are growing and expanding, helping take people out of the cycle of poverty.”
“Thank you, Sure Chill, for being part of our work and allowing us to do what we do even in the most remote areas!”
AFCA are currently looking to purchase a second Sure Chill solar refrigerator for another project in Tandala, DRC, due to the success of this one, find out here how you can help them raise money for their projects in the DRC.