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In 2014, when Hands Across the Water in NJ asked to become a branch of Woman Cradle of Abundance, Inc. Mme Monique of FEBA in Kinshasa and Mr. Innocent Nunda wa Nunda, the head of the Uvira project, met virtually and began a conversation which led to a new partnership between their non-profits in Congo.

Now linked to Woman Cradle of Abundance and run by CENEDI, the project in Uvira has expanded its activities to give more attention to the women of the community. Eastern Congo has been an undeclared war zone for over twenty years, and the numbers of women and girls – as young as eight! – who have been raped in recent years in these small villages around Uvira is heartbreaking – nearly one hundred! One was attacked again later as she worked in her field, gang raped and murdered.


Below are some of the rape victims who consented to have their pictures taken

Because of the volatile and dangerous situation in eastern Congo, CENEDI focuses much of its efforts there on safety for women.   Services they provide include:

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, including hospitalization.  Medical care has also been provided for members of CENEDI, including the leaders and the students. 

Security -  With support from WCoA, CENEDI purchased two parcels of land near villages outside Uvira that are now cooperatively farmed by the women of the villages.  This is much safer for them than farming and foraging alone in the forests surrounding the villages.  There is more information on the farm here.

But the picture is not all bleak.  International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8th, provides an opportunity for the women to demonstrate in a public way that they claim their rights as women and as human beings. International Women's Day is celebtrated with marches, speeches and a celebratory meal.  With the help of their American sisters, food and sometimes a new dress wrap can bring special tangible joy to the women of Uvira.

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