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'Orphan' Mamaan Jeanne's orphanage, Democratic Republic of Congo by Melinda Kerr

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'Orphan' Mamaan Jeanne's orphanage, Democratic Republic of Congo by 

300 million in sub-Saharan Africa, live on less than $2/day, more than double the level 20 years ago, and having gone up by around 100 million over the last 10 years.

Nearly two-thirds of people who have AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa.

90 percent of the world’s daily 3,000 malaria deaths occur here.

One-third of boys and one-half of girls do not complete high school on the subcontinent.

Two-thirds of the poorest countries in the world are in Africa.

34 of the 35 states with the lowest life expectancy are in Africa.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is twice the size of Britain, France and Germany, but with only 500 km of paved roads. Over 4 million people were killed during the war of 1998-2003, but the conflict had actually begun even earlier.

Maman Jeanne Banyere and her husband, Prosper Mulengetsi, began their mercy mission in Masisi (in the mountains northwest of Goma) in 1996. Prosper directed a secondary school at the time, where Jeanne taught.

Their ministry of compassion began with one four-month old orphan. People noticed and began dropping off other war orphans. Their centre of compassion grew. In 1998 while Maman Jeanne attended a national women’s conference in Kinshasa, Rwandan soldiers attacked Masisi. Prosper fled with 60 orphans.

As fighting intensified, Prosper and the children slipped deeper into the forest. He happened across a band of pygmies, outcasts in the Congo. The pygmies fed and cared for Prosper and his orphans for six months.

Maman Jeanne and Prosper then relocated their orphanage to Goma in 1999 and were adopted by HEAL Africa. They have successfully placed 70 orphans with foster families. Eighty orphans still remain under their care. Even in 2007 in DR Congo, 1,200 people still die every day from hunger, disease or violence. Over 50% of them are children.

You can support Maman Jeanne’s through their child sponsorship program or by supporting the ministry directly.


G’day all, my name is Melinda but my mates call me Mel, so feel free. I live by the beach in Elwood, Victoria, Australia. I contribute to a few charities as a Photojournalist, namely HEAL Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Any of my Africa stuff’s profits go to them. So far the sales have bought 7 operations and heaps more so thanks for everyone’s support. I also take a mean beach shot (well try to).

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  • Steve Axford
    Steve Axfordover 7 years ago

    Another good one, Melinda. His (or is that her?) skin almost looks like it’s been oiled.

  • jetsta42
    jetsta42over 7 years ago

    gosh, isn’t he beautiful…great image

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrover 7 years ago

    Amazing isn’t it Steve? You know I think it’s maybe a combination of heat, overcrowding, poor nutrition and stress.

  • Michael Douglass
    Michael Douglassover 7 years ago

    Great shot Melinda, possibly for me one of your most moving pieces. That expression and the background story really got me. Great work.

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrover 7 years ago

    Thanks Kalb. That really means a lot.

  • Paula Birch
    Paula Birchover 7 years ago

    wow i love this face. how do i get to be doing what you are doing?

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrover 7 years ago

    Hi Paula. I volunteered to be the photographer with an organisation called CNEC Partners International
    My sister works for them. My room mate was rebecca zachariah you should check out her photos too. I’ll post her link next.

  • Melinda Kerr
    Melinda Kerrover 7 years ago

    Here’s bec’s link rebecca zachariah

  • Allison Kramer
    Allison Kramerover 6 years ago

    Great shot. Powerful, stark, and desperate.

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