Initiatives of FEBA in Kinshasa
Because the problems of crippling poverty and violence against women are complex and far-reaching, the approach of Femme Berceau de l’Abondance is multifaceted and growing.
- Counseling and Refuge – Survivors of rape and forced prostitution find regular counseling and support. Some women and girls need a safe place; they have been living with President Monique or other members. The new Women’s Center will not only provide appropriate privacy for counseling but also be able to shelter more women and girls.
- Medical Care – FEBA assists rape survivors in obtaining medical care. Some women have contracted HIV/AIDS from unfaithful spouses or from time spent in forced prostitution. The staff encourages testing, provides necessary medical treatment and follow-up appointments, and the regular nourishing meals that are necessary for HIV/AIDS medication to be effective. They also work to educate about the disease.
- Literacy and Human Rights – Many women and girls who come to FEBA are illiterate; most have at best the equivalent of a sixth grade education. FEBA provides these women with further education. Particularly these women gain new perspectives on their human rights in their context and realize that they have choices in dealing with domestic violence, forced early marriage, harmful sexual practices, and other challenges.
- Community Support - Monthly gatherings give women and girls the opportunity to share their stories, worship, and boldly envision an altered future for themselves and their communities. There are also workshops where women learn methods for improved hygiene, micro-finance, and other practical skills.
- Children and Youth Education – Education is not free in Congo. Many orphans and children of widowed mothers lack the means for school fees, uniforms, and supplies. FEBA helps the children of members as far as its limited funds allow, usually only two per family in order to spread the assistance. When the Women’s Center is functioning fully, FEBA hopes to begin remedial classes for children who have been forced to drop out of school for years, to enable them to return to school at their appropriate grade level.
- Sewing School – When a woman has the means to support herself and her family, she not only has the dignity of a secure place in her community, she also has the means to educate her children. When she can save for a rainy day, she is not at the mercy of disaster. Women in the community asked Maman Monique to start a sewing school – which was located in her home for seven years, until the new Women’s Center was built. There students learn a marketable trade and are able to pay their opportunity forward to their children. They learn the basics of sewing by hand, then master the use of a manual or treadle sewing machine and designing clothing.
- Micro-Savings and Micro-Finance – Most women never have a bank account, but they can bring their little earnings ($1-$5) to the monthly gatherings of FEBA where each member can have her own micro-savings book. Small groups of women also benefit from a micro-loan program when funds are available.
- Market Garden – FEBA has the goal of helping women improve nutrition for their families and learn best practices for their small farms or gardens. After political problems cost them their first farm, they have now been able to buy a new one in a safer place outside Kinshasa, where they will raise food for the Women’s Center as well as demonstrate the use of better quality seeds and agricultural methods.
FEBA's New Home
TOMISUNGA (“We help each other”) WOMEN’S CENTER
The Women’s Center will serve as FEBA’s primary operating facility.
The great news in 2014 was the purchase of land on which to build.
The exciting news of 2015 was the beginning of construction.
The anticipated wonderful dream-come-true news of early 2018 will be moving into this new home!
The Center will house a shelter for abused girls and women, private rooms for counseling, and large common areas for the sewing and literacy schools, including a store and display area for the beautiful products of the sewing school. It will also include a small dormitory for girls who currently travel long distances to attend the school.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO EVERYONE who contributed to our capital campaign! The first capital campaign goal was $100,000. Skyrocketing inflation in Congo has required recalculating the cost a number of times.
The goal has been raised to $170,000 to complete the final work. We had hoped that all would be finished by 2017 but now we are anticipating early 2018 – with great joy!
We are happy to announce a challenge grant of $7000! Every dollar we receive by Dec. 31st, up to $7000, will be matched, one-for-one. One more push to get into our dream house!
Our Congo refuge for girls and women who have suffered violence and abuse, our center for good health and counseling, our center for education and new life – is CELEBRATING our successful campaign with J&J CARING CROWD!
Thank you to each person who contributed! Thank you, J&J!
This matching crowdfunding project provides furnishings for our Center Tomisunga. We are now purchasing the kitchen and dining equipment, a refrigerator, and other items. The beds and tables and chairs, etc., are being made by local woodworkers, so our success will also benefit the very fragile economy in Kinshasa.
See www.caringcrowd.org/furnish-congo-refuge-sexual-violence-good-health to learn more about this project.
Initiatives of CENEDI in Uvira
Because the situation in eastern Congo has been an undeclared war zone for over twenty years, the work of CENEDI includes particular attention to basic needs.
- Support and Counseling – In eastern Congo, rape is a weapon of war. CENEDI provides psychological support and pastoral counseling to victims of rape and sexual attack.
- Medical Care – CENEDI provides support for medical treatment for victims of rape and violence
- Children & Youth Education – The main focus on CENEDI has been to enable a number of destitute children to attend school from primary through secondary.
- Micro-Finance Projects – A small beginning has been made in creating jobs for the program’s graduates and the community. One project was a cyber café where community members can pay to use internet. A second is a small sewing project providing three women with two machines.