Rape continues to be used as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo with devastating consequences for women and girls, men and boys.
At Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, they find shelter, receive medical care, psychological support, legal assistance and they can start rebuilding their lives.
We work with Panzi in Congo to give survivors the support they need and to end the violence.
With your help, Panzi and the Mukwege Foundation were able to make important progress this year in Congo.
Accountability for sexual violence crimes
In December, eleven Congolese militia members were convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of 37 children in Kavumu, Eastern Congo. The decision was a major breakthrough in a region where perpetrators of sexual violence are rarely prosecuted.
Panzi Hospital is specialized in the treatment of sexual violence survivors and provided support to the children and their families.
Specialized care for survivors
With our support and together with the Common Threads Project, Panzi initiated a trauma therapy program. Survivors come together to share their experiences and to sew their stories onto cloth in order to find their way out of despair.
The first round of the “Kamba Moja” program, Swahili for “the thread that unites us”, began in September and continues next year. Through the artwork the women are producing in cloth they not only express their pain, but also their resilience and strength.
Network of survivors
Congolese women are sharing their experiences with survivors of sexual violence from other conflict zones.
We are helping them to connect with one another and build survivor networks in their home countries and at a global level – from Burundi to Iraq, from Colombia to South Sudan. In the Global Survivor Movement, participants will engage in dialogue, document their stories and demand justice together.
These successes were possible thanks to your support. We are grateful for your donations, for your ideas and other contributions that have helped us this year to provide quality care for survivors and work towards the end of sexual violence.