The DR Congo is a country that is mostly known for being the world epicenter for war rape of women and children. Village women and girls, as well as children, have been raped during the unending wars the country has been experiencing since 1997. Women had fled their homes, and of course others stayed home, to seek refuge in places where they thought they would be safe. Those places are naturally unlivable and highly risky (diseases, animals, weather, etc), such as swamps, forests and mountains to hide from the rapists. Despite this, the rapists found them in their hideouts and they raped them. Some women were raped repeatedly and by several men in uniform (regular soldiers and fighters). Some of them got pregnancies with the rapists. The pregnancies delivered fatherless children. These children with their mothers are discriminated at family and community levels. Mothers have been expelled from families because of rape; they leave the family with nothing at all to feed the children, and themselves. Women in the villages of the DR Congo live on cultivation, yet in this part of the world, no woman is allowed to own land. This makes the lives of such women become very critical.
So, Congolese Females Action for Promoting Rights and Development COFAPRI www.cofapri.org is empowering these mothers through income generating activities in order to support their children and themselves. The organization is also helping these children to get registered in schools and from there, they get school materials and fees in order to study like any other child in the village. These schools are scattered here and there in the villages, and there is a lot of risk of these children to get raped (for the girls), or be taken forcibly into militia (for the boys) when going to or back from school. We are planning to bridge the divide by building a school where they can be studying, of course with other children.