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Struggling to Thrive: Health and Wellness in the Congo

Anne Bailey | Congo

A prostitute smokes marijuana while waiting for a client in Beni, DRC.

For decades, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been shattered by civil war. North Kivu province, in particular, continues to feel the effects of years of conflict and instability. Unemployment is rampant, access to quality healthcare is limited and security is tenuous at best. In the face of these challenges, the majority of Congolese people struggle to thrive.

Increasingly, women unable to afford schooling turn to prostitution as a source of income. In the city of Beni, an estimated 250 houses of prostitution operate. Many Congolese women also fail to receive adequate maternal healthcare.

The images in this exhibit explore the personal stories of women forced to work as prostitutes in order to support themselves and their families. Others look at the courage of nurses and mothers at maternity clinics. Still others reveal conditions leprosy patients face in rural Congo. Together, they aim to shine a light on the incredible strength and resilience of Congolese people in the face of enormous hardships.

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