Idjwi Island in Lake Kivu is a remote and neglected island in one of Africa’s most turbulent regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is home to an estimated 250,000 people and has garnered a reputation as a safe-haven for refugees fleeing conflicts like the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the DRC M23 rebellion of 2013.
While isolation has led to its peace, it has also led to its neglect by the broader health system in the DRC. Idjwi suffers from minimal civil infrastructure. Infectious disease is a public health problem on the island with malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) plaguing much of the population. Amani Global Works in collaboration with the END Fund are working together to implement a public-health program on the island of Idjwi. This collaborative project aims to eliminate NTDs as well as contribute to sustainability, community engagement, and wider adoption of good practices.
Saskia Keeley was hired by the END Fund in December 2015 to document a specific project taking place in Idjwi. At that time a mapping program was launched to identify parasites that cause rampant intestinal worm infections in the vast majority of the quarter of a million population. Saskia’s assignment on this first visit was to document the community health workers’ training program during the mapping phase and to follow them to local schools. On this first visit and a subsequent one in March 2017, Saskia also documented the tremendously inspiring and empowering work done by Amani Global Works and the END Fund. Amani Global Works paves the way for better health and education throughout Idjwi - sponsoring a deworming program lifting the heavy long-term burden living with worms, distributing daily a nutritional porridge to malnourished children, running a primary school that provides education for local girls.
In October 2018, Saskia Keeley will showcase a selection of portraits at the Centre des Arts in Geneva, Switzerland named: “Idjwi’s Children”. A rapport growing out of consciousness and resonance fostered an empathetic connection creating a deeply spiritual experience. Each photo brings into light people from less visible parts of the globe in all of their humanity and dignity.
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