Lesson Plans

A Child's Life in Congo

Marceline Bauma, 8, lives in Goma, Congo. Some of Marceline’s life in that African city is far different than life in the United States. Her home has no electricity or running water. But other parts are familiar: There’s schoolwork to do, and her help is needed around the house. Image by Kem Knapp Sawyer. Congo, 2013.

1. Read the article "In Far-Away Congo, a Girl's Life Focuses on School and Family."

2. Answer the accompanying questions about the reading.

3. Locate the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on a map and find both Goma and the capital Kinshasa. What countries surround the DRC? Goma is situated on one of the African Great Lakes—what is the name of the lake and what other country borders the lake?

4. The DRC is a fertile land, rich in natural resources. Research and identify Congo's major agricultural products and natural resources.

5. Draw an outline of the DRC that shows where these products and resources can be found.

Educator Notes: 

This lesson centers on a day in the life of a child in Goma, a city in eastern Congo. It is based on "In Far-Away Congo, a Girl's Life Focuses on School and Family,"a story for Kidspost, the children's section of The Washington Post, that profiles an 8-year-old named Marceline, as she goes to school, does her homework, and performs her chores.

Her homeland, a region that is fertile and rich in resources, has suffered from the aftermath of a decades-long civil war that began in the 1990s. Over 5 million people have died, 2 million have been displaced. Rape has been used as a weapon of war, schools have been burned, and houses looted. Children have proved the most resilient—young readers from other countries will find both similarities and differences in their lives.

To read more about youth in Congo, see the e-book "Congo's Children," by Kem Knapp Sawyer and Jon Sawyer.

For background information on the situation in eastern Congo, see the InfoGuide Eastern Congo, produced by the Council on Foreign Relations.

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