"All the people gathered here, you the youths, you should learn from this. This is a good example we are proud of on this land. They are helping women and children in different ways. All of us are happy and all of us should be supportive. Who is that man who can be sad to see his wife paying fees for the education of the children in their home? So, we are learning from them, and we must be happy a son and a wife of this land is becoming our pride. Long life COFAPRI and all your supporters. Long life this International Day for Women in Nyangezi!” - Local leader.
By Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile, Founder/Exec. Director, COFAPRI
The world celebrates the International Women’s Day (IWD), every March 8th of each year. COFAPRI is no exception. On this IWD 2018, with the theme #PressforProgress, COFAPRI has joined the world, as at the same time we are celebrating the graduation of our 21 women and girls who had been courageously learning the life sewing skills in Nyangezi village. This event took place in the presence of local leaders and many other invited people from outside the village.
This is a great gathering here on this important day for women. We have always been around here. We were born, grew up and work here and recently we have been surprised with this organisation with its way of helping our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters [audience clap in applause and whistles]…..Ok thanks a lot. We love that. I am happy I am invited today, and what I can say is that this is an amazing organization because it is doing everything possible for all the women and children around. They train the women and give them jobs at the centre. Others round about are appreciated, and they help their families and their community in that way. I think this is a good way of developing. They push hard and they are making things happen on the field. We like that!
Head of a local school.
Through COFAPRI, the women and the girls in the villages of the DR Congo are pressing for their progress to address poverty and domestic abuse in their homes and villages. The different income generating activities they have been involved in since the creation of this organisation in 2009 have been very helpful for them to scale down this scourge that has been very damaging physically and morally for these women and girls. Those activities include sewing, animal rearing, small business and cultivation. The income they are now generating has ben of great support in various ways: the women get cash to support their families, their children go to school, they purchase food, and in many other ways.
“Some time ago, we gave COFAPRI a trophy for their good job on our land here. Today, they have invited us again, which means they are doing more than what we saw last time. All the people gathered here, you the youths, you should learn from this. This is a good example we are proud of on this land. They are helping women and children in different ways. All of us are happy and all of us should be supportive. Who is that man who can be sad to see his wife paying fees for the education of the children in their home? [audience…no one at all and they laugh]. So, we are learning from them, and we must be happy a son and a wife of this land is becoming our pride. Long life COFAPRI and all your supporters. Long life this International Day for Women in Nyangezi!”
Moreover, the women are supporting any peaceful activity that can help them gain more of their empowerment and make it more sustainable. Women have always pushed hard to make sure they are on the track of progress; despite the many challenges they face depending on where they are. These challenges should not be a hindrance to their progress, but rather be a way to work harder. In this context, COFAPRI has been empowering women and children in the villages of the DR Congo. The women and the girls are doing income generating activities, learning how to read and write, learn about basic hygiene, the children being helped to have access to school education in some local schools and from there, they are getting support with school fees and equipment.
“Who cannot see where we have come from? Who cannot support these people to do more to us and to other villages? [rain of applause]. Yes, it is true. We are now asking the leaders here to help us have peace. With peace on the land, our homes will breathe a bot, and this will trigger us and COFAPRI to do more. We really do not want our progress to be damaged of slow down. We want to soar high. The way is peace. Thank you, leaders, and thank you COFAPRI and the women and the people here.”