While the M23 rebels moved just kilometers outside Goma in preparation for negotiations, a tense and perhaps temporary peace settled into the towns and villages in North and South Kivu. But as a recent Los Angeles Times article reports, the region, “swept up in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. … has become the scene of one of the great tragedies of the last century: Wars fueled by a toxic blend of resource riches, ethnic hatred and interfering neighbors have killed 5 million people.
“In recent years, the area settled into a fragile peace. But militias still drain the country’s wealth. There now are fears that eastern Congo could spiral into another long and bloody conflict.”
Now, more than ever, is the time to educate and empower the people Action Kivu serves, to help them stand for peace. The work is even more important with the recent wave of violence in eastern Congo. The programs there tell the women and children that their stories matter, and gives them the hope and the actual tools to change their home life, their villages, and eventually their country from a very personal place of empowerment and knowledge.
Early this December, the local Catholic church organized a demonstration for peace and justice in South Kivu, inviting Action Kivu’s partner ABFEK to participate as one of the most active groups working toward peace and a civil society. Gathering just outside the Peace Market, women and men, the young and the elderly, danced traditional dances, imploring peace.
“Together with no weapons but as ONE, we are stronger than those shooting bombs innocently against us, dispersing us like a herd whose shepherd is almost non-existent, sending us to exile unwillingly, forcing us to become homeless, raping our daughters, sisters, and mothers, pillaging our resources …destroying the entire fabric of our society! The truth will triumph, but only when we stand up and shout against whosoever is against peace, those who are not honest with themselves and with us.”
“The white color symbolizes Peace, these children do not want AK47s, but need to learn about their rights and how to make their country and the globe a better place for everyone to live.”
Will you join in the dance? This holiday season, consider giving a gift to the women and children through Action Kivu – $10/month sends a secondary student to school with a uniform and supplies. A recurring donation helps programs like the sewing workshops move forward, training women in the skills necessary to earn an income and provide for her family, supplying her with a sewing machine upon graduation to start her own business.