WHY DO WE WORK IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Imagine that you never feel safe, not even in your own home.
You are perpetually at risk of violence, rape, famine, disease, and displacement.
You, or someone close to you, have been the innocent victim of endless conflict. Countless armed groups pose a constant threat, and your family may be forced to flee from your home at any time.
This is today's DR Congo.
Although a peace accord was signed in 2003 to end a devastating civil war, violence still rages – and women bear the brunt. Rape is a common tactic of war used by rebel forces and government militias. Widespread violence causes women to lose their homes, families, and livelihoods. With your help, Women for Women International in DR Congo is working with women to rebuild their lives.
WHAT YOU CAN HELP US DO IN DR CONGO
Our programs in DR Congo include business and vocational skills, rights awareness and health education classes, and emotional support. The one-year program was developed for DR Congo's special challenges and demands, and includes vocational training that helps women earn an income and support themselves, through:
Ceramics production – women learn to create practical household items for sale in local markets and tiles for our Women's Opportunity Center in Rwanda
Bread-making – program participants learn the basics of baking and earn an income from the sale of baked goods
Other courses include:
- Culinary Arts
- Small Business Management
- Beauty Care
Women for Women International has operated in DR Congo since 2004. Our programs have helped more than 58,000 women in North and South Kivu Provinces.
Of Women for Women International-DR Congo graduates:
- On average, graduates nearly double their income over the course of the yearlong program.
- 91% save a portion of their income, compared to 14% at enrollment.
- 99% have knowledge of good nutrition, compared to 4% at enrollment.
- 98% have knowledge of their rights, compared to 5% at enrollment.
- 77% are participating in social networks and safety nets, compared to 10% at enrollment.
Lucienne, a survivor of rape in DR Congo, is a single mother of three daughters. Lucienne's husband was away when men entered her home in December 2006.
Lucienne describes the horror that happened next: "When we got to the bush, they pulled me down to rape me in front of my brother...As he hid his face in shame, they struck him with a gun and pulled him away to kill him."
Lucienne spent three-and-a-half months as a sex slave and became pregnant.
Upon return to her village, Lucienne's husband shunned her from the community. Lucienne needed help, and she came to Women for Women International. Lucienne reflects that, "Joining the program has been a salvation...my life has changed and my children are healthy. I recovered confidence through the [Women for Women International] training."