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A celebration of women's achievements

To mark international Women’s Day, SCIAF's Louise Joyce who oversees projects supporting women in the DR Congo, has written a blog post celebrating some of their fantastic acheivements.

Int. Women's Day

Through our WEE BOX BIG CHANGE Appeal, and together with partners in the DR Congo, we are transforming the lives of women affected by sexual violence. By providing medical support, trauma counselling and legal aid, these women are able to rebuild their lives and support themselves and their families.

Joan, who was viciously attacked when she was visiting a market, has benefitted from one of our projects in the DR Congo. She receives medical support and counselling. She attends a women's group where she can talk about what she has been through:

What gives me strength is when I participate in the women's group and listen to stories of what has happened to others.

Joan

Through our help and the support of other women, she is beginning to heal. 

Two other inspirational women are Jeanne and Cholohya. Both are gender champions; they're part of a project in South Kivu that promotes gender equality that ensures they can support themselves and their families.

45 year old Cholohya speaks about her improved life:

Today, we can eat three times a day… I have a small business project, a vegetable field at home, two goats, and a pig. My pig has just given birth! When I speak in the Village Savings and Loan group, I feel included in the community and in my respective family.

Yet life was not always like this and as is typical of most women in rural eastern DR Congo, Cholohya has sought to overcome challenges:

Before, I had difficulty eating once a day because there wasn't enough food… I wasn't educated on female empowerment or how to cultivate crops.

A lot of rural women in DR Congo lack income, financial freedom, and information on decision-making: meaning they are more likely to remain in poverty without enough food. 

Through this project and others, we have been working with our local partners to promote women’s empowerment and to tackle discrimination. This is achieved through training and successful strategies like model couples and gender champions. Jeanne explains the changes she experienced after taking part in our project:

Life with my husband has improved. We now know that dialogue between spouses and collaborative planning is essential.  I am no longer subject to domestic abuse from my husband. He now lets me make household and financial decisions surrounding the sale of livestock, crops, and land.

Jeanne is now a member of a Village Savings and Loans group where she can save money or access credit to help support her children. This makes her “happier… and with a new lease of life”.

Int Women's Day 3

Thank you to everyone who has donated to us over the years because without you, we wouldn't be able to give our brothers and sisters living in poverty a chance to thrive. For more stories of courageous women, read their stories today.