Beyond the headlines, beyond the conflict: hope

Too often, when we hear about a country in turmoil, we want to help, but end up telling ourselves: “There’s nothing to be done. What’s the point?”

In our experience, the answer to this question lies not in the evening news, but on the ground.

There is reason for hope. It comes from local organizations who understand the situation better than anyone.

Look up “Beni” or “Bunia” on Google News. Any search on these two cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo will turn up reports of massacres, displaced populations, sexual violence, and kidnappings.

Despite the danger, the women’s organization SOFEPADI (Female Solidarity for Integrated Peace and Development) offers medical, psychological, financial, and legal support to victims of sexual violence. It also organizes activities to promote a dialogue for peace and backs legal action against sexual aggressors.

Since 2000, the brave women of SOFEPADI have been accomplishing all this with very limited means. With greater support, they would be able to achieve a great deal more. This is where you come in.

Despite the great distance, your generosity will make a difference in the heart of Congo and improve the lives of older Congolese women and their families.

Helping victims of sexual violence

Traumatized and cast aside, victims of sexual violence nonetheless overcome their terrible ordeals. With support, guidance, and modest financial aid, they can make a life for themselves and even help send their grandchildren to school.

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After sexual violence

Victims of sexual violence come to SOFEPADI looking for help. Trained professionals offer them medical and psychological support. These are the very first steps on the road to recovery.

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An income for a better life

Fearing retaliation from their assailants or their families, women often move to a different town to start a new life. A sum of $100 USD is enough for them to get a small business off the ground and allows them to help their loved ones while regaining their dignity.

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Healing through justice

The psychological recovery of victims and the fight against rape culture require that justice be served. Demonstrating admirable courage, women denounce their aggressors, who end up in prison and are ordered to pay them restitution.

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Helping older Pygmy women

The indigenous Twa people of Congo, commonly called Pygmies, are both marginalized and vulnerable. A little goes a long way towards helping older Twa improve their lives, even in a dangerous and unstable area.

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Lending a hand to courageous older women

After spending years dedicating their lives to helping others, often while putting themselves at risk, what happens to human rights activists when the time comes for them to retire? They deserve a bit of help to live safe and peaceful lives.  

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An overlooked crisis

Since the beginning of 2018, more than 25,000 displaced persons have been living crowded under plastic tarps in Bunia. Many of them are seniors and children. Having fled from killings, sexual violence, and the destruction of their homes, they are left with nothing. The most vulnerable, particularly seniors, do not even manage to eat every day. Despite limited resources, our Congolese partner manages to help them, but we can provide them with the means to accomplish even more.

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