Football-gift

By Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile, Founder/Exec. Director, COFAPRI - January 2014

Footballs from Australia

Members of COFAPRI feel they are loved and not abandoned to themselves; they see there are people who care for them in their daily hardships.

Once more, this belief drew Bahati - COFAPRI's Executive Secretary, back to the rural areas of the DR Congo in the month of December when she took additional sewing and knitting materials to the women and girl members of COFAPRI who are courageously involved in sewing and knitting activities.

Bahati also took footballs to the children located in COFAPRI’s catchment area - kindly donated by Anne Seery in Australia.

Anne Seery loves and supports COFAPRI's endeavour to sustain women, and children of rural DR Congo – especially the children who are born of rape and who have experienced violence in their homes and in the community.

Most children in rural villages are from very poor families. Many are orphans as one or both parents have been killed during the unending wars the country has been experiencing since 2006. Others are the children born to raped mothers or are homeless; as such they are discriminated against and so they spend the nights with their friends’ who are also destitute.

When Anne read the story of these children and saw the picture where they were playing bare feet with footballs made of banana fibres, she felt touched by their situation. It is from then that she decided to obtain some real footballs for them.

No sooner said than done; she sent us the balls.

Bahati took them to the kids in the village on a Sunday, but when she reached the village, most of the children had gone to their respective churches for prayers. This meant that she was unable to meet them all, as she had planned a round trip. However, she met their representatives who, on behalf of their mates, said that next time all of them will be around and they will have constituted a COFAPRI football team!

They were very grateful indeed to Anne and pleased with the balls.

“Ha ha ha, that is my joy! Today we have a real football?

This is unbelievable…a real football?

Ok, Anne must be a good mother and what I only say is God help and protect her, help and protect COFAPRI, help and protect you, Bahati our mother. Thank you also COFAPRI; it is you who made this caring mother know us.

Last time, we missed the school materials. but today we are lucky with the balls. We are going to make a strong team and organise competitions.

Even if we have no football uniform and boots, we will play – not a problem, thanks a lot. We love you all, you are excellent parents and God bless you richly and endlessly.’

Baseme Hillaire

“Who told this kind woman we exist here?

[Michel had forgotten her name and asked, “What is her name again?” Bahati told him.]

….Anne is incredible. She is a woman of good will. Tell her we thank her a lot as we can now play with real footballs. Tell her thank you….millions of times. We will hire out two of these balls and this will help us get some money.

Tell her she is a good mother and God help her. We send our heartfelt thank you to her. May God help and bless her. Thank you Anne.”

Michel Murhula

After Bahati had given the footballs to the children, a director of one local primary school passed by and asked her if she could give her school one ball as well; as the only one they owned had burst and they failed to purchase a new one.

Bahati told her that in case they get it, no matter – it can be given to them.

Showing Support by Being There

Bahati faithfully believes that when helping rural DR Congo women and children – mostly those who've survived rape, born of rape, and those who suffer domestic violence. She has to be close to them.

To her, this is a real experience from which the whole organisation can learn the reality of how the women and girls members live and once with them, they feel very much emotionally supported, in addition to various materials they get as support.

The members do appreciate this very much and nothing can express it better in their own words:

We highly appreciate your permanent being among us. This triggers a lot of audacity and inspiration in us because you too are courageous and incentive. We feel very much supported morally via the different discussions we have with you regarding our development, our rights and various issues.

This makes us use appropriately the materials you often bring to us. This is a big support to us; you are a true caring woman.”

Faida M’Rukara

“You hugely support us by your presence among us. You are busy we know, but you never send us materials alone without coming. We need those materials, of course, but your presence means more than those objects.

We have been hurt morally as we and our daughters in these remote villages have been raped and we were missing someone like you to support us morally and help us recover.

I think it is God who sent you here to help us this much.”

CORAPRI member.

Members of COFAPRI feel they are loved and not abandoned to themselves; they see there are people who care for them in their daily hardships.

Once more, this belief drew Bahati back to the rural areas of the DR Congo in the month of December when she took additional sewing and knitting materials to the women and girl members of COFAPRI who are courageously involved in sewing and knitting activities.

The women and girls thanked COFAPRI for the support materials they are getting to run properly the three sewing centres:

“Our wives and daughters who have suffered rape and domestic abuse are no more abandoned to themselves. We don’t have everything for the centres yet, but these additional materials are welcome again and they are a true support to all of us here.

Our daughters and their mothers are highly motivated to learn and this will help us all in the future. Those who already know to sew and to knit, they are getting something now.”

Muhini Bosco

Sewing Centres Give Hope to Women

Since we have set up three sewing centres in some villages where our members are located, we could not supply all the centres sufficient materials in one go.

There are still a lot of items to supply to the centres, but due to our monthly modest savings and donations, we cannot purchase everything at once. We buy the missing materials little by little until we get the three centres well-equipped, though the activities have already started.

“We are certain our centres will grow and become big.

Of course, we don’t have all the materials we need for sewing and knitting, but what one centre has can be borrowed by another and so on. This is how we work until each centre gets its own materials. This is difficult, but we cannot cross the arms waiting until we get everything ready.

The little cash we will be getting from the objects we sew and knit will also help to buy something, like spare parts, to make our machines last longer. This is our contribution, too; we have nothing here because we are poor.”

Josephine M’Muhigiri