Our organisation embraces change and we believe that everyone should be given the opportunities and help they need to succeed. Our current international project is based in AFRICA especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea (Conakry) and Ivory Coast.
Since 1996, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been embroiled in violence that has killed as many as 5.4 million people. The conflict has been the world’s bloodiest since World War II.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is right now the worst place in the world to be a woman. Used as a weapon of war, rape in Congo exists on a scale seen nowhere else in the world. Often successful in its intent to destroy and exterminate, rape as a weapon of war is causing the near total destruction of women, their families, and their communities. Therefore our focus in DRC remains women and children. They face multiple vulnerabilities.
For years, as violence is escalating in DRC, women’s bodies have literally become a battleground, cursed by sexual violence on a scarcely imaginable scale, which has seen it labelled as the ‘rape capital of the world’ and the ‘worst place on earth to be a woman. Not only in the areas affected by war , working with our focus group in the capital city of Kinshasa, a ground-breaking new report calls concludes that rape is just as prevalent in people’s homes as it is in the midst of conflict. Women experience systematic gang rapes, kidnappings, mutilation, and sexual slavery. Survivors are left wounded, alone and with few options in a state of mental anguish:
Instead of empathy and compassion, survivors of sexual violence in DRC are often stigmatized, leaving many feeling ashamed, embarrassed and isolated accused of witchcrafts. The physical consequences of rape may include injuries, unwanted pregnancies and HIV. But the damage to mental health can be just as harmful and may lead to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and even suicide failing to receive appropriate treatment and counselling and yet suffering these effects for years. Violence against women has become so engrained into Congolese culture that it is considered a norm.
Where war and insecurity reign, children are hit hard. The conflict in DRC has taken an extraordinary toll on children who make up nearly 50% of the recorded deaths, despite constituting only 19% of the total population. Decades of conflict in the Congo have left millions of people in desperate poverty and without a functioning welfare state to rely on. Education has been disrupted for hundreds of thousands of children. Tens of thousands of children live on the streets of the capital Kinshasa. Some have to earn money to help supplement their meagre family income. Some are living on the streets because their families simply couldn’t afford to feed and care for them leading to the DR Congo’s Witchcraft Epidemic of children accused of sorcery, an increase in the number of children abused and murdered by relatives in the name of driving out demons.. living on the streets, begging for food and money. Some turn to robbery (Kuluna is the expression used to qualify them) and many develop alcohol and drug dependencies as a means of coping with the brutality of their everyday life. Lots of the girls are forced into prostitution as a means of survival. It’s not uncommon for them to have babies of their own as a result of these encounters. Children accused of witchcraft because they were disabled, wet the bed or suffered nightmares.
What we do:
In 2012 we set up a focus group of women and young children aged 16-18 alongside churches’ leaders and selected local ONG/ASBL to offer support to the local women and children.
The focus group surveyed and identified areas where we need to provide our professional support a Our organisation embraces change and we believe that everyone should be given the opportunities and help they need to succeed.
Our aims are:
- Empowering women to take control of their lives and their children
- Improve Adult education’s opportunities through educational based activities to learn life skills.
- Campaign for free education for children especially disabled and those of children accused of witchcraft
- We also strive for the reintegration of child survivors of abused (Accused of sorcery), sexual exploitation and violence
We run activities/training/workshops to empower them work towards
- Promoting adult learning regardless of age and plan to organise annual adult learning festival to promote the value of adult and community education.
- Making a living, contribute to the economy grow and develop “Micro project”
- Ensure that their children develop a love of learning and take full advantage of education: Free school education and free meals
- Actively participate in their own communities and civil society: Volunteering initiatives
- Support and respect people with different cultural beliefs and abilities
- Respect and protect the environment for future generations: Climate change and impacts.
- Nurture creativity and imagination
- Live healthy and fulfilled lives: living with long term medical conditions
Our planned programmes:
We run activities/training/workshops to empower them work towards
- Counselling: to provide intensive counselling and psycho-social care and support to help disabled children and those accused of witchcraft overcome and move on from the traumatic experiences they’ve lived through at such a young age.
- A safe, nurturing home: to support the most vulnerable children in a residential home so that they stay here for up to a year whilst we can provide them with the counselling and education that can turn their lives around.
- Building skills for life centre: to provide literacy and numeracy classes that enable disabled children and those accused of sorcery who have missed out on an education to catch up so they can re-enter school alongside their peers.
- Adult education and training to provide adult education to those who have missed out so that they can brush up their life skills and become independent.
- Community Awareness: Community awareness and working with local women and ASBL to help raise awareness about sexual violence and child protection, women rights and dignity, health and living especially setting up patients experts programme
- Environmental sustainability: climate change community awareness working with women and young children to engage, enthuse and take action on environmental sustainability; including energy efficiency, waste management, sustainable travel and food growing
- Volunteering pathways: Our supported volunteering model to unlock the potential of individuals to achieve positive and lasting social, environmental and economic change.