Eurasian Resources Group (“ERG” or “the Group”), a leading diversified natural resources group, is pleased to support the launch of the new Bon Pasteur child protection centre at Kolwezi in the Lualaba province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as part of its longstanding partnership with the Good Shepherd International Foundation.
Part of the Bon Pasteur programme, which puts the elimination of child labour at the heart of community development, the centre is expected to accommodate almost 1,000 children in 14 newly equipped classrooms in the Kanina – Domain Marial artisanal cobalt mining community.
A comprehensive facility, the centre provides free education but also other initiatives much beyond this including healthcare, nutrition, counseling and human rights training, as well as an opportunity for families to learn about alternative livelihood opportunities. It will also host the activities of the Bon Pasteur Kolwezi community-based development programme, which is aimed at tackling child labour in artisanal mining communities.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by Mr Richard Muyej Mange Mans, Governor of Lualaba, Monsignor Nestor Ngoy Katahwa, Bishop of Kolwezi, Cristina Duranti, director of the Good Shepherd International Foundation, Sr. Catherine Mutindi, Program Director of Bon Pasteur Kolwezi and Mr Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group.
Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “We are proud and grateful to be a part of this important initiative which goes right to the root of the challenge of child labour and affords a safe space for good choices and sustainable opportunities to be created.”
Over the past seven years, the Good Shepherd Foundation’s Bon Pasteur programme has helped address acute challenges faced by local communities including forced child labour, gender-based violence, food insecurity and a lack of vital social infrastructure.
“We’ve been on the ground in the artisanal mining communities in Kolwezi since 2012 and our right-based approach integrating child protection and community development has succeeded in getting nearly 2,000 children out of the mines and into the classroom”, said Cristina Duranti, Director of the Good Shepherd International Foundation. “These impressive results, together with the foundation of the Bon Pasteur Centre, could not be achieved without the fruitful long-term cooperation with Eurasian Resources Group. This partnership will support a durable social change for the local communities, eradicating child labor and human right abuses and achieving sustainable improvement in the living conditions of artisanal miners.”
“Paving the way for this project is our strategic cooperation with the Good Shepherd International Foundation, as part of which over 1800 children have been protected from the worst forms of child labour in 2018 and early 2019. We are committed to continuing to advance our wider commitment to strengthen the socioeconomic development of local communities across our operating regions and help eliminate child labour from the sector,” added Mr Sobotka.