My name is Hannah Smith and I'm the project leader at Congo Orphans Trust. In April 2014 I travelled alone to the Democratic Republic of Congo and spent 6 weeks visiting orphanges, clinics and schools throughout eastern Congo to deliver much needed supplies of food, clothes, medicines and school supplies. At each location I also assessed what they needed in terms of infra-structure and equipment as well as projects we could help them to start so they can begin to support themselves financially. During my trip I saw first hand the terrible conditions that more than 4 million orphans must survive in every day and met the amazing people who have dedicated their lives to take care of them which is incredibly hard when the average person here survives on just £1 per day.
Some of the orphanages and schools I visited were already funded by international charities or personal sponsors and although they didn't have much, they had enough to at least provide the orphans with a roof over their head, clothes, food and an education. Other orphans were not as lucky. I saw orphanages in terrible conditions with anywhere from 20 to 40 children sleeping in each room, sometimes 4, 5 or even 6 to a bed with many sleeping on the floor.
Food and clothes were scarce to non-existent and medical treatment was out of the question. Most of the children could't afford to go to school and those that tried got chased away as they couldn't afford the school fees. In some cases the people that run the orphanages try to build schools for the children but the result is poor - schools with no roofs, no walls and no seats or desks for the children.
Following that trip I created the Congo Orphans Trust. Working with local NGOs, this organisation supports a number of projects throughout the eastern Congo and by covering our own running costs we ensure that 100% of donations go directly to where they are needed most - to the orphans of the Congo.