Lualaba (Agenzia Fides) - "It was the bishop of Kolwezi who asked us to come here in 2012, worried about the living conditions of the population, especially children. When we first arrived, there were very few people around. But where is everyone? - we asked. In the mine, to dig". Thus begins the story reported to Agenzia Fides by Sister Pascaline Mukebo, Economic empowerment Project Manager, Bon Pasteur Kolwezi, managed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd. It is the story of an indissoluble bond between this congregation founded in France in 1835 by Santa Maria Euphrasia Pelletier and now present in about seventy Countries, and the "people of cobalt", that is hundreds of thousands of individuals - at least a third of whom, children up to 7 years of age - 'employed' in the mines of the province of Lualaba, formerly Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The mission of the sisters is concentrated in this small area which alone guarantees between 60 and 70% of the world need of cobalt and which in recent years, since the decision was made in the world to focus on electric cars that require at least a dozen kg of this material, has inevitably become a hub of unregulated attraction for many multinationals. For the companies that wind their way through the supply chain, profits have literally multiplied. For the local population, however, the situation marks a dramatic return to industrial revolution parameters, yet another example of the curse of resources that transform many African Countries, very rich in raw materials and capable of producing indigenous fortunes, in areas of humanitarian emergencies. . (...)(- continues)