This past weekend in Ethiopia, a Peace Accord was signed to attempt to end decades of conflict in Congo. According to reports, despite this encouraging step, the accord does not specify enough detail or plan of action, and there are signs of a return to fighting between the Congolese government and the M23 rebels.
That same weekend, a celebration of peace was held in eastern Congo, as the Bukavu Rotary Club honored 108 years of the Rotary Foundation. Dr. Denis Mukwege, the main speaker at the event, is a hero of healing whose Panzi Hospital has served multitudes of women in the war-torn region. Mukwege only recently returned to Bukavu after an attempt on his life in October of 2012. Amani, a member of the Bukavu Rotary and friend of Dr. Mukwege, noted that the doctor is a great inspiration to him.
Mukwege addressed the Rotary gathering in light of their theme, “Peace and Global Understanding,” and Peace through Service. “I was renewed by his moving speech,” Amani wrote. “[It] gave me hope again in the fight to end war and poverty and injustice by not only empowering the most impoverished communities to help themselves here in the Eastern Congo, starting in Mumosho, but also making our voices heard to the international community and regional policy makers! I was encouraged when Dr Mukwege said: ‘It’s high time we stood up and fight corruption, impunity and injustice and no, no to the balkanization of Congo.'” Amani added, “Violence against women should stop once and for all!”
|Dr. Mukwege addresses the Bukavu Rotary Club, Feb 2013.|
The Rotary’s celebration of peace started Friday in Mumosho, where Rotary leaders met with ABFEK / Action Kivu’s hero of healing and peace, Amani Matabaro. In honor of the celebration, Amani opened the new Mumosho Women’s Center. Still needing funds and work to be completed, Amani gave a tour of the center, which will house Empower Congo Women’s teen-mother program, giving a year of safe shelter and skills-training to 10 young mothers, empowering them to provide for themselves and their children. The center will house Action Kivu’s multiple projects, including our literacy programs, skills-training workshops, and a workspace for graduates of the sewing workshop. It will also serve as a community gathering place, hosting forums and trainings toward building peace in the family, in the community, and in Congo.
|Amani explains how the Mumosho Women’s Center will serve the community.|
|A leader of the Bukavu Rotary speaking at the Mumosho Women’s Center.|
|A group of young mothers in Mumosho.|
More to come on the opening of the Women’s Center! If you’d like to partner with us in covering the costs of the construction, please note that in a donation. All donations go directly to the programs already running, but the need is great, and we’re excited to grow with your partnership!