This words comes from Mama Jeanette in DR Congo. She is one of the women who for years have made heroic efforts to help the thousands of women and children who are victims of war and unspeakable brutality in the eastern Congo. JOIN has for over 20 years worked with brave and courageous women like Mama Jeanette and Mama Jeanne, women who have dedicated their lives to helping others. They are both related to the church network CEPAC which has a tremendous network in the Kivu provinces, with over 1 million members. More than 45 female volunteers are associated with this network as advisors. Through this network we have built up a comprehensive and effective aidwork that reaches war victims in the most remote areas. The victims are met with warmth and care from fellow sisters, who brings them to one of our "Listening Houses" where they get to tell their stories. They tells stories of rape, often carried out by the military and guerilla, often many men. They tells stories of abuse against defenseless children and women, and many have been witnessed to family members being killed. In the "Listening Houses" they receive the necessary psycho-social follow-up, they get first aid and warmth from someone who cares and understands.
The women with extensive damage are brougth to one of the health centers or to larger hospitals where they receive the necessary medical attention. One of these hospitals is Kyeshero in Goma, a specialized hospital for women and children built by JOIN with Norwegian aid funds. JOIN is also the builder of the Women clinic at Panzi Hospital in Bukavu.
The Women's Network that JOIN support, helps women reclaiming their lives after treatment. For most women this goes fortunately good, although they must carry with them deep and incurable wound that may never heal. Many of them find comfort in each other. They are not alone, and the unit between the women themselves are tremendously strong.
THE WAY BACK
For those who for various reasons can not return to their home village, the situation is very demanding. The stigma around being a rape victim is great, and unfortunately there are many of them who never will be accepted again by their own family. These are victims in a double sense. JOINs projects also has a strong focus on helping these women. Primarily through mediation with the husband, the family and the local community to get them to accept that the women are innocent and must regain her place at home and in the community. Fortunately we often succeed with this, but not always. For those who are left alone, JOIN have a special program. They get courses and training in agriculture or another practical profession that can help to give them a livelihood. Some of them also get help to build a private house and a patch of land where they can start growing vegetables for themselves and their children.
Life is brutal in DR Congo, but JOIN deliver good resoult. Through cooperation with our local partner Hope in Action and Mama Jeanne and Jeanette Mama over 27,000 women have received help. The women have regained their dignity and life will return, and they've got a new hope for the future.
The real heroes are Mama Jeanette and Mama Jeanne. Women who have been deeply affected by the distress and brutality around them. They have made a life choice that gives them enormous challenges, but where they touch so many women and children's lives positively. Mama Jeanette and Mama Jeanne were both nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 along with dr Denis Mukwege.
We in JOIN are proud to work alongside them and we hope many will join with us to give them opportunities to help even more.
Maria survived a brutal attack on here body and lost all family.
Now she has started breeding guinea pigs in the cottage she
received by JOIN. Last year, she opened her home for a young woman from
one of JOINs reception centers. She is a great support for Maria who is ill.