In Democratic Republic of Congo, 36 women and girls are raped every day and it is estimated that more than 200,000 women in the region have experienced sexual violence since 1998. Decades of conflict have devastated the country, causing massive displacement of the population, families’ loss in income and the tearing of the nation’s social fabric. In parallel, an equally destructive war continues to rage on as hundreds of thousands of women suffer from violent rape and its consequences.
These atrocities have pulled women survivors of sexual violence into a life of extreme poverty. After being raped, many women are disowned and driven from their homes by their husbands and communities, forcing the women to cover all family expenses on their own. The violence to which they were subjected leaves them physically, psychologically and financially vulnerable. This vulnerability, coupled with the women’s lack of education, prevents the women from establishing income-generating activities and gaining autonomy.
Along with psychosocial support and healthcare, it is also vital to promote the socio-economic reintegration of women survivors of sexual violence, encouraging them to find a sustainable means to meet their needs and those of their children.
The SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
W4’s field project in DR Congo, the Alpha Ujuvi Collective, helps these women to become financially independent through its microfinance and entrepreneurship project. Thanks to this project, women survivors of sexual violence in the city of Bukavu can learn how to launch and run an income-generating activity (IGA), empowering them with a reliable income.
The first part of the course is more theoretical and teaches women the most basic skills needed to start a business: reading, writing and arithmetic. Upon completion of this first component, the Collective provides the women with the seed capital necessary to launch their IGAs and offers them practical support throughout the development of their small businesses.
THE IMPACT OF GIVING
Your donation funds theoretical, practical and financial support for women in the creation of their small businesses. You can help ensure that they can successfully sustain their income-generating activities, working in decent conditions and acquiring increased autonomy. Thanks to a strong peer network, the women also benefit from solidarity among their fellow program participants, a crucial element in rebuilding their confidence in themselves and their trust in others.
The women’s success as entrepreneurs helps to both lift their families out of poverty and reduce the stigma experienced by women survivors of sexual violence. The women become a source of economic and social progress within their communities and role models for other survivors of sexual violence seeking to rebuild their lives.
Help survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo to become financially independent and regain their dignity!