Tucked in the poverty-stricken Plateaux de Bateke region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bakanja-Anuarite Formation Centre has opened doors to dozens of young mothers whose childhood was stolen when they became pregnant and dropped out of school.
The formation center is run by the Mill Hill Missionaries (MHM) who ventured about 80 kilometers outside DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, in their quest to serve the poorest of the poor in the Central African nation.
Fr. Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu, a MHM Priest who serves as the Director of the Centre in St. Francis of Paola Parish of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa says that Plateaux de Bateke, which, ironically, is rich in manganese mineral deposits, fits Pope Francis’ description of “the periphery of peripheries.”
Here, Fr. Bolengu tells ACI Africa, people live in ramshackle structures, away from any source of clean drinking water or electricity.