Thanks to your generosity during our 2020 WEE BOX campaign, £1.2 million of match funding from the UK government has helped improve the lives of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the Eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).
In its first year the project, which started in 2021, has supported over 2,300 survivors and their families to access medical care, psychological and legal support, and financial services.
The appeal ran during Lent 2020 and raised more than £2.4 million. The matched funds from the UK government were used to set up a three-year project, working with four partners in both DR Congo.
In DR Congo, social and political unrest have raged for decades. One weapon used in the conflict is sexual violence – levels of rape and sexual assault are very high – especially among women and girls.
Through our local partners, we’re helping survivors to work through their trauma, re-build their self-esteem, and create a better future for themselves and their families. We're also tackling the underlying causes of gender-based violence, by educating local community and faith leaders.
One key part of the project is medical support – which includes access to medical and surgical care, pregnancy and STI screening, and other specialist services.
Thérèse Mema Mapenzi Director of Centre Olame
Psychological support is also provided through the work of 31 ‘listening centres’ across the region. In the first year of the project, over 300 people were also able to improve their income by joining savings and loans groups and receiving livestock such as guinea pigs, hens, rabbits and goats to produce manure for farming. Being part of such groups not only supports survivors financially, but also encourages relationship building and the development of leadership skills in the community.
Angela* is 40 years old and has six children. While dealing with a past trauma, Angela’s husband walked out on the family and she had no other support. Often unable to feed her children and meet their other needs, Angela felt embarrassed and alone.
She was struggling to cope. Through one of the project’s listening centres, Angela received therapy and psychological counselling to work through her trauma.
“The counselling I received and continue to receive is changing my life. I understood that I still have value, despite being abandoned by my husband. Now I am starting to collaborate with others and join other women’s groups.”
*Name has been changed
Supported by the UK government