The Virunga Youth Alliance is a DRC-registered, non-profit organization set up by Balemba to give the young people who live around Virunga National Park a diversion from the conflict, and to give them the opportunity to build lasting relationships. How does Balemba do this? Primarily through sports.
The Virunga Youth Alliance wants a voice
With 132 young people, 90 from Rumangabo and 42 from Kibumba, just down the road towards Goma, the group meets regularly to play soccer between communities. They also invite the rangers so they listen to their stories. Balemba believes that Virunga will stand a better chance of survival if young people can connect to nature through interaction with each other - and with the rangers.
Virunga soccer players warm up for a crucial match
As part of their effort to find solutions to deforestation, this year the Virunga Youth Alliance has already planted 1,050 trees near Rumangabo, in the buffer zone of the park. They have also held several workshops to raise awareness about HIV and other health issues.
A team from Rubare who came to play at Rumangabo, 2008
The Virunga Youth Alliance wants to protect Virunga and its children.