Of all the philanthropic endeavors Ben Affleck makes time for, perhaps none are as close to his heart as his work in one of the most troubled places on earth, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The more I traveled, the more I was struck about it, the more I fell in love with the people, the more I was horrified by what was happening. And the more I did, I started to develop this idea of partnering with the Congolese people and wanting to empower community-based organizations there that were doing extraordinary work,” Affleck told CNN
Since 1998, the DRC has been embroiled in violent conflict, poverty, and terrible disease, with an estimated 5 million deaths as a result. Since he first visited the country more than three years ago, Affleck has made it his personal mission to educate people on the atrocities being committed there.
“Congo is in terrible shape,” Ben said in a 1998 "Dateline" interview. “What’s going on here in this country is humanitarian disaster. I think just helping people understand that could have a real ripple effect down the road and this piece will be one small incremental step in that.”
Last year, Affleck launched a grassroots organization called the Eastern Congo Initiative
, which supports "community organizations working to help rape victims and to rebuild from a decade of war."
Next Tuesday, he'll testify before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. The subject of the hearing is “The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Securing Peace in the Midst of Tragedy.”