COFAPRI has been empowering women and children survivors of war rape and domestic violence in the villages of DRC since 2009. The women have been involved in income generating activities.
In addition, the women benefit of learning basics in reading and writing. The women and the children in school, as well as the local population, are taught basic hygiene and ways to change negative behaviours into constructive ones via screening the interactive educative DVDs supplied by Education Saves Lives (formerly Thare Machi Education).
COFAPRI Women - International Women's Day 2020
By Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile, Founder/Exec. Director, COFAPRI
The theme for the International Women's Day (IWD 2020) reads “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights".
To the COFAPRI women in DRC’s Katana Village, equality means they are not beaten in their homes; they can feel they are in a community that cares for them and that they are free to move and work like men. Once these factors are met, then they ensure there is development in their families and communities. To understand this, it is better to overview what COFAPRI aims at for those women in the villages.
COFAPRI has been empowering women and children survivors of war rape and domestic violence in the villages of DRC since 2009. The women have been involved in income generating activities, such as sewing, small business, animal rearing and cultivation, and the children helped to have access to school education by supporting them with school fees and equipment. This aims at empowering these women to use their hands and brains in order to be financially self-reliant.
In addition, the women benefit of learning basics in reading and writing. The women and the children in school, as well as the local population, are taught basic hygiene and ways to change negative behaviours into constructive ones via screening the interactive educational DVDs supplied by Education Saves Lives (formerly Thare Machi Education).
On this International Women’s Day IWD 2020, COFAPRI members in Katana village did not lag behind; the women organised a meeting in which they discussed the challenges they meet for enjoying their rights and attaining their real development. On the agenda, they discussed what they can do in order to overcome those challenges. The women discussed how domestic violence and gender based violence are still hindering them from making huge steps towards real development and enjoying their rights. They argued that they have made some good steps that are very helpful and hugely promising, but still need to move forward.
“Being a woman in Katana is not a sin; we are human beings like all the men around us. We have rights as human beings. We blame our society for what we are today. Here in Katana, we do not ask the leaders much, only peace and security in our villages because we have discovered a lot of helpful things around us thanks to you and COFAPRI that we have some skills that had been dying inside us, but we are reviving them little by little thanks to you. Having peace and being developed are some of our rights they have taken off us.”
Nanzige M’ Mwilarhe - COFAPRI member.
Indeed, this international Women’s Day of 2020 is a great moment for these women to confirm they are a generation that is struggling for equality of genders and rights. These elements are the key motors of their move; they help them to look more ahead than behind because their future is giving them more hope and incentive compared to their past that was characterised with much poverty, more domestic violence and abuse and even discrimination in their own house by the husband.
In the same vein, the women in were happy to hear that they will hopefully soon resume their activities regarding addressing domestic violence in their villages.
Documents were signed at the meeting with Clive Dove-Dixon - the Chair of the trustees at Education Saves Lives, (formerly Thare Machi Education TME) - in Kigali, when Clive was there to meet Bahati Valerie for discussing this project. We are now waiting for the trustees to approve Clive's report, to release the funds raised for our educational DVD projects.
This IWD 2020 brought more hope and joy to the women and it triggers them to be more a generation of equality and that of women’s rights. They believe that the combination of their activities that are generating an income for them to improve their lives and sending their children to school as well as the new project of scaling down gender-based violence will help them a lot in becoming more empowered and somehow enjoying their rights.
On behalf of the gathering, Ms. Cimpaye said:
“The happiness and hope to have our rights and get developed you mean? Yes, we want our rights and those of our children to be respected; our children having access to school education is a step toward those rights. As you can now hear and see, very soon we shall be queens who are well equipped. We now have strong weapons that can root out violence, abuse and mistreating us in our homes and in the villages. Good news our activites of watching images are soon starting. We had already lost hope….
Before we were relying on our husbands financially, yet they are jobless, to feed us totally. Today, we are becoming empowered. We have made huge steps because of you and our rights now must be ours in full. We now have the right to our own cash, animals and land, which was not before. Our children are going to school, this is another right we are gaining.
Soon we shall learn how to fight domestic violence using our images [DVDs] again, isn’t that to make us untouchable queens via empowerment? What we miss is now security from rebels and this will open more doors for our empowerment. We all here are short of words; but millions of thanks to Clive, Rachel and COFAPRI and everyone who has been on our side, for our empowerment. Long life to all of you, and us for sure. Long life to this special day for women too…" .[huge claps and noise of joy].