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    Rwanda, in the heart of the African continent and one of its smallest countries, is located in East Central Africa just south of the equator. It has about 12.3 million inhabitants, about 1 million of whom live in Kigali, the country's capital. Three ethnic groups share a common language and culture. Additionally, French, and recently English, are official languages of the country.

    Because of its landscape, Rwanda is often called "the land of a thousand hills". It is one of the poorest countries in Africa, and, with 467 inhabitants per square kilometre, also one of the most densely populated.

    Its people are facing many challenges, apart from coming to terms with the genocide of 1994 and its consequences. One of the greatest challenges today, more than ever, is fighting extreme poverty and the constant spread of AIDS, as well as caring for those suffering from it. Numerous social and political problems lead to ever-new laws and regulations, compliance with which is particularly difficult for the poorest. With a seeing and hearing heart, we feel challenged to help and, as far as we can, do something about these problems.

    Democratic Republic of Congo

    The Democratic Republic of Congo is the third largest state in Africa. It has approximately 86.5 million inhabitants, with about 250 ethnic groups. Apart from French as its official language, four languages are spoken as national languages, in addition to about 200 other languages which are divided into 25 linguistic groups. Sixteen thousand kilometres, as the crow flies, separate the capital Kinshasa and the city of Goma, which lies in the east of the country, in immediate vicinity to the border with Rwanda.

    In the north of the city with its almost 2 million inhabitants, the Nyiragongo volcano rises to 3462 m high, and in the south Goma borders on Kivu lake, which is 2650 square kilometres and about 450 m deep.

    oma is not only the scene of all too many natural disasters; it is also a hotspot of the region's political and social conflicts. Innumerable groups of militia and armed clashes between them make the people flee. The prevailing feeling of the population, thus, is one of insecurity and threat. Ever-new slums are growing on the outskirts of the city due to refugees from other parts of the country. Unemployment, poverty and disease are affecting more and more people.
    Despite all political and military unrest and the struggles of life in this region, the people's will to live and their hope for peace remain unbroken.