Developments and Trials in Congo
Our Uvira Project
Our sisters in eastern Congo have been raped and we appeal for your compassion for them. Last spring Woman, Cradle of Abundance adopted a daughter non-profit in eastern Congo which has long been supported by the “Hands Across the Water” club at Community Middle School (see our spring newsletter). The main work of this project has been education: paying school fees and supplies for girls and boys from several villages near the city of Uvira. Shortly before Christmas the endemic civil war engulfed mothers from these villages.
About fourteen or more women of all ages, and a child of 8! were raped while collecting firewood in the nearby forest. The attackers were probably militia or guerilla fighters seeking simply to show their power; the women had nothing valuable to steal. The violence and physical pain are the stuff of nightmare. That is not all these poor women face, though; by tradition, victims of rape are traditionally blamed and excluded from their families. The suffering goes beyond violation and shame and broken bodies; it shatters lives. Some of the women are single mothers (one widow, others abandoned); others are married; one is a little girl of 8. Medical help has been provided, and some counseling, but more assistance is needed to help these dear sisters find their way back to health and (by God’s mercy) to acceptance and hope.
Unrest in Congo
Kinshasa, the center of Woman, Cradle of Abundance, has all the problems of a big city: poverty everywhere and gendered violence. Most of the time, however, members of Woman Cradle of Abundance can go about their business if they exercise care. You will have heard recent news of the protests and violence in the streets over a new parliamentary law ordering a national census before the next elections in 2016. The move is seen as a means for those in power to postpone the elections, since the president is nearing the end of his second term, which is the constitutional limit.
A significant number of people, mostly civilians and students, died or were injured in the demonstrations. Their actions, along with international pressure, led the government to withdraw the law. Communications were cut, and some have not yet been restored, but life is returning to normal. Our sisters in Kinshasa are safe: like most others, they stayed in their locked homes, despite lack of food. (With limited funds and no good means of preserving food, daily visits to the market are necessary.) Closed markets also meant no sales of their products and so, more hunger and need.
Woman, Cradle of Abundance seeks your prayers and compassion for all the girls and women in Congo who have been raped, some as young as 8 years old.
The Women's Center Update
This is the bright hope of Woman, Cradle of Abundance! The architect has produced a new design because the space is a different size. (The cost will be more than first anticipated since prices are sky-rocketing; Kinshasa is among the ten most expensive cities in sub-Saharan Africa. So we will proceed with the basics: sewing school and classrooms, counseling and office space, and add more later.) The women are eager to begin work! See the progress on the capital campaign.
Thank You Karrin Allyson!!!
What a wonderful concert we all enjoyed on Nov. 9th! Karrin’s voice and presence enchanted us all. This time she delighted the audience further with a story-and-Q&A time. Of course there were clamors for “do it again!” So she will! We cannot express adequately our gratitude for the huge lift she has brought us in new friends, in fundraising, in encouragement. Karrin Allyson for ever!
Capital Campaign News and Challenge Grant
Thanks to Karrin & the concert, our capital campaign news is good. After the big push to buy the land last summer, our purse was empty. Then we aimed to raise $15,000 by the end of 2014. We did, THANKS to all of you! And thanks to another challenge grant of $10,000, of which we received $4000 to match our year-end gifts.
PLEASE HELP US MEET THIS NEW GOAL: MATCH THE REMAINING $6000 BY MARCH 31 AND CONSTRUCTION WORK ON THE WOMEN’S CENTER CAN BEGIN
INTRODUCING… Gordon A. Govens
How could I resist an invitation to join the Woman, Cradle of Abundance board? I got hit with a one two punch and my life has been greatly enhanced as a result! Before I heard of this organization, I’d not yet met Mama Monique, the tireless woman on the front lines, saving and protecting women’s lives against violence. I learned of Woman, Cradle of Abundance’s mission and its work from Dr. Elsie McKee. Her dedication to helping others is well known within our community so her connection alone to the organization gave it immediate credibility. I saw her passion for this cause, unhesitatingly investing time and effort from her already full professional and personal life. Then I met Mama Monique. I then understood and experienced one source of Dr. McKee’s passion and commitment to the cause of Woman, Cradle of Abundance. I am formally trained in ministry. The evidence hangs on my wall. However, Monique and her team embody, live and breathe ministry in practice, beyond theory and training. Their evidence is the thousands of lives they’ve saved and given hope for a better life. As a board member I am in the backroom, using my business experience to support their tireless efforts. The women of Woman, Cradle of Abundance in the DRC are on the front lines, while their own lives are at risk. They inspire me. So you see, ultimately, my work as a board member has benefited me to a level that I only hope I’ve benefited it.