In Katana, I met the local leaders for the first time - "Look at this lady who has been coming from afar; she has climbed mountains and walked in mud to look for us – this is how we must behave." Local leader.
“Since I have been earning this money I see things are changing positively in my life. My family can now enjoy things we were not enjoying before. I think if we can be using this money well we can go far. If we help other members, after a long period all of us can develop..."
Unfortunately, due to traditions, the rural women of the DR Congo often fail to openly discuss important life-changing issues with their daughters... In addition, the majority of the girls who attend school in the villages are very poor.
The programme COFAPRI has implemented... includes animal rearing, sewing and knitting activities and small businesses. In addition, we sponsor the school education of children born of raped mothers by paying their school fees and providing school materials.
In the DRC villages where COFAPRI operates, many school-age children stay at home..... most of these children are orphans of war, or born of raped mothers. Sadly, most of the perpetrators remain free, while the victims are dying alive. COFAPRI is working to change this...
"I feel very happy today thanks to the funds... I will be selling bananas, groundnuts, sugar and salt... I promise I will use the money well. With my two hands, I say thanks a lot..." Nsimire Binja, age 23 and mother of 4 has been widowed by the war and is living alone in a small house...
“We are going to school now and we thank you the people for helping us. Now we dream that one day there will be promotion of gender equality in national education laws, policies, and plans..." - Irenge Murhima, Cihanda girls primary school, DR Congo.
I informed members about the donation and help we received from the Kelley School of Business in the USA....The Kelly School had involved me in developing a business handbook for the women. The women were very excited on hearing this news - Mugisho Theophile.
'As the world had ignored us when we were being raped, let us beat the bell and tell them we are here, we survived. They will see what we are doing with sewing machines here.' - Murhimanyi Chantal
"We are grateful to every person who is helping us in these remote villages. These sewing machines and school materials, as well as the school fees, are a way of laying a solid foundation for our future and that of our children; again we say thank you." - Nshobole Alice.
Bahati Valerie, co-founder of COFAPRI, has set off for DR Congo, to make a follow-up on the sewing centres and to see how the children are getting along with their school education.
Just as she did with the sewing, she is learning some knitting skills which she will be sharing with COFAPRI women and girls.