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ERG supports the launch of the new Bon Pasteur child protection centre

On Friday, 20 September, the Good Shepherd International Foundation opened the doors of a new Bon Pasteur Child Protection Centre in Kolwezi (DRC), supported by ERG. Benedikt Sobotka (CEO of Eurasian Resources Group) delivered a heartfelt speech in French to the attendees at the inaugural ceremony.

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. Paving the way for this project is our strategic cooperation with the Good Shepherd International Foundation, as part of which over 1 800 children have been protected from the worst forms of child labour in 2018 and early 2019.” Benedikt Sobotka.

The Centre is expected to accommodate almost 1 000 children in 14 newly equipped classrooms in the Kanina-Domain Marial artisanal cobalt mining community. The Centre will not only provide free education, but will also offer other important initiatives including healthcare, nutrition, counselling and human rights training. It will also host the activities of the Bon Pasteur Kolwezi community-based alternative livelihood development programme, which is aimed at tackling child labour in artisanal mining communities.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by (from left): Cristina Duranti (Director of the Good Shepherd International Foundation); Sister Catherine Mutindi (Programme Director of Bon Pasteur in Kolwezi); Benedikt Sobotka (CEO of ERG); Monsignor Nestor Ngoy Katahwa (Bishop of Kolwezi) and Mr Richard Muyej Mange Mans (Governor of Lualaba)

In her address, Cristina Duranti said: “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 labour and human right abuses and achieving sustainable improvement in the living conditions of artisanal miners.”

Various publications covered the event including Chronicle.lu and Mining Magazine.