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June 2011

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In This Issue
Gardens and Gruel
The Chicken Project
Help Grow the Flock!
Roots and Greens
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Gardens and Gruel Nourish Hungry Congolese School Chidren

kids in Congo waiting for food

In the Democratic Republic of Congo,  children are so hungry they have trouble concentrating on their lessons. Oftentimes, they endure 24 hours or more without nourishment. Here, at one of the Sisters' missions, children crowd in during a break in lessons at 10:15 a.m. to receive their morning meal: gruel made from corn paste.

Eager to learn, students at the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Secondary School in the interior of the country cram four to a bench and 70 to a class. A few years ago, the older students recognized that all of their schoolmates were as hungry as they were. They suggested planting a vegetable garden on the school grounds in order to share its harvest with the entire student body. Because of their creative problem-solving skills and willingness to work hard, gardening is now part of the learning curriculum at this school. Sisters oversee the gardens as well as arrange funding for rudimentary buildings and supplies. The school's boarding students must bring their own food with them on a bi-weekly basis. The food is then carefully parceled out until they return home.

A Note to Our Readers:
As we continue to develop our e-newsletter, we are very interested in your comments, insights, suggestions and questions. Most importantly, we are interested in why you are a supporter of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. What is your point of connection? Please e-mail us your story.

The Power of Poultry
 "...the One who began a good work in you will go on completing it..."
-- Philippians 1:6               

Chickens Bring Good Things to Life    

If it were up to Sister Claudine, every impoverished family in her native Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would have a hen house. The DRC is one of the world's poorest nations.The country has suffered colonization, economic exploitation, epidemics, drought and civil war. It's no surprise that hunger has also plagued the people of this central African nation for generations.
Several years ago, Sister Claudine came up with an idea to address the country's lack of food security -- Chickens for Congo, a program that raises chickens for distribution to hungry families. Chickens bring commerce, eggs and meat as well as a vital source of nutrition to the people, whose diet consists mainly of manioc, a starchy root vegetable poor in protein.
Sister with chickens

The Chicken Project     

Sister Claudine launched what has become known as the "Chicken Project" in 2002. Educated in agriculture and farming methods, Sister Claudine is focused on food security and stability. She spends half her time overseeing the care, feeding and distribution of the chickens to hungry families eking out a living in the country's impoverished highlands. She spends the other half teaching at a university in a nearby city. In either case, she is fulfilling what she considers to be her purpose: teaching others how to become self-sufficient.   

400 Chicks and Counting...
Art rendering of chicken and chicks
  Sister Claudine launched the Chickens for Congo project with 200 chicks. Her current flock numbers 400, which is still not nearly enough to provide eggs and chickens to all the hungry families served by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At this date, one baby chick costs the equivalent of $1.50 there. That's less than the cost of a dozen eggs in U.S. supermarkets!
Please help us grow Sister Claudine's flock by donating to our African Projects.

Kids pounding greens in Congo Lunch Time of Roots and Greens
These eight-year old girls, students of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, are pounding the green stems of the manioc plant in a type of crude mortar and pestle. Once the greens are mixed with the boiled and mashed manioc root (like mashed potatoes), lunch will be served. A daily diet of manioc is far from sufficient to grow strong, resilient and healthy bodies. Supplementing their diet with protein found in eggs and chicken is crucial to the girls' ability to grow and learn.

Statistics Tell Powerful Stories
This short video visualizes a "healthy, wealthy world." See how Congo remains at the bottom of the graph, in the "poor and sick" corner, even in the 21st century. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have stood in solidarity with the Congolese people since 1894, providing education, economic opportunity and hope. Won't you help Congo make it to the "healthy wealthy" corner by supporting the work of the Sisters
Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four
Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats - BBC Four