The Democratic Republic of Congo is a vast country, with a population of over sixty million spread over almost a million square miles. The river that gives the country it's name supports a teeming rainforest and land rich in natural resources - including diamonds and coltan, an essential component in the manufacture of mobile phones and computers.
However, since Patrice Lumumba led the country to independence from Belgium in 1960, the Congo has been ravaged by war and instability. Between 1965 and 1997, President Mobutu's kleptocratic regime ruled over the country he renamed Zaire. The Second Congo War, between 1998 and 2003, contributed to instability which has claimed 5.4 million lives in the past decade, more than any other war since World War II. The vast majority died because of the lack of health and food infrastructure - causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
Congolese Dawn, named for Lumumba's poem 'Dawn in the Heart of Africa', is written by volunteers who are travelling and working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.