Eurasian Resources Group (‘ERG’ or ‘The Group’) has recently supported the launch of a new Bon Pasteur child protection centre in Kolwezi (Democratic Republic of Congo) that is able to accommodate close to 1,000 children. ERG supported the launch as part of its partnership with the Good Shepherd International Foundation. This partnership began in 2017 when the Group supported the work of Good Shepherd Sisters and the Bon Pasteur Alternative Livelihood programme (also in Kolwezi).
The centre aims to put a stop to child labour in Kolwezi and provide vital healthcare, education and counselling. Its 14 classrooms will be used for free education, job skills and human rights training.
The facility will also act as a hub for additional initiatives in the area aimed at providing healthcare, nutrition and counselling, as well as giving families opportunities outside of artisanal mining. Furthermore, the centre will host a Bon Pasteur’s community development programme to reduce child labour.
ERG’s CEO Benedikt Sobotka was proud to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony alongside the Bishop of Kolwezi (Monsignor Nestor Ngoy Katahwa), the Program Director of Bon Pasteur Kolwezi (Catherine Mutindi), the Director of Good Shepherd International Foundation (Cristina Duranti), and the Governor of Lualaba (Mr Richard Muyej Mange Mans).
Speaking on behalf of ERG, Benedict Sobotka said the group is proud to support the initiative, emphasising the importance of creating sustainable opportunities and safe communities and reiterating the Group’s wider commitment to strengthen socioeconomic development and fight child labour in the regions the Group operates in.
Since 2012, the Good Shepherd International Foundation has been tackling important issues in Kolwezi’s artisanal mining communities via its Bon Pasteur programme. The programme helps local communities address gender-based violence, forced child labour, lack of social infrastructure, and food shortage risks.
According to Cristina Duranti, Director of the Good Shepherd International Foundation, the programme has approached these issues with a rights-based approach to protecting children and developing the community, and could not have achieved its results without the help of Eurasian Resources Group, stating that the partnership will enable “durable social change” for communities in the surrounding area, making improvements to the living conditions and rights of artisanal miners. Eurasian Resources Group’s partnership with the Good Shepherd International Foundation has helped protect more than 1,800 children from child labour since 2018.
Bon Pasteur Kolwezi
Bon Pasteur has proved to be highly impactful at fighting human rights violations and child labour in artisanal mining communities around Kolwezi. Bon Pasteur has helped more than 5,000 people attend school, build alternative livelihoods outside the difficult life of artisanal mining, and create secure and sustainable communities.
Since 2012, Bon Pasteur Kolwezi has enabled over 2,000 children to stop working in the mines and attend school. In addition to benefiting from improved healthcare and nutrition, Bon Pasteur’s education initiatives have enabled 500 women to leave work in the mines to gain work skills, and 500 girls to engage in income-generating activities that are dignified alongside skills training.
As a result of Bon Pasteur’s rights education, residents of the artisanal mining community of Kanina are able to hold government and mining organisations accountable to uphold their rights and provide necessary infrastructure and services.
The project’s current five-year plan aims to take a further 4,800 children out of the mines and into schools and provide about 5,000 women and girls with sustainable income skills and opportunities for alternative livelihoods.
The Good Shepherd International Foundation
The Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF) was founded in 2008 to aid children, girls and women in 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America by eradicating gender-based violence and discrimination, human trafficking and poverty.
GSIF has provided Bon Pasteur Kolwezi with resources, planning and management guidance and global communication since 2012, to assist the long-term impact of the program.
Eurasian Resources Group
Eurasian Resources Group is a leading natural resources group with integrated marketing, logistics, energy, processing and mining operations. The Group is a major employer in the industry and operates in 15 countries.
Eurasian Resources Group is a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance, launched on the World Economic Forum platform. The Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that there is a sustainable and ethical global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries, helping to power a low carbon economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
ERG is one of the largest global producers of iron ore and alumina products in Eurasia and the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content. The Group is also among the principle cobalt and copper producers; it is also the only high-grade aluminium producer in Kazakhstan, where it represents a third of the country’s mining and metals industry.
In Africa, the Group processes and mines cobalt and copper ore, in addition to development projects involving fluorspar, bauxite, platinum, manganese and thermal coal. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Group has recently launched a major tailings reprocessing operation.