Fear of Rape and Violence Rising – Women for Women Reaches Out To Vulnerable Women in Congo

Washington, DC, November 12, 2008 – Amidst widespread violence and massive human suffering Women for Women International is preparing to respond to the needs of thousands of women who are threatened by the fighting and are in urgent need of assistance.

“We will reach out to more women including those who now live in displacement camps in and around Goma and hope to offer sponsorships to the most vulnerable among them,” says Karen Sherman, Executive Director of Global Programs with Women for Women International. “Since most women are not able to come to us, we will go to them and offer assistance through financial aid and on-site training.”

Christine Karumba, the DR Congo Country Director

Christine Karumba, the DR Congo Country Director

The direct assistance will help them to pay for food, medicine, and other lifesaving needs. Since the latest outbreak of violence more than 250,000 people have been forced to leave their homes over the last few weeks alone, bringing the total number of displaced to more than 1.2 million.

The worst fighting is occurring close to the provincial capital city of Goma, where Women for Women is training and assisting almost 1,000 women. The UN is reporting that retreating fighters have gone on a rape and looting rampage just 60 miles north of Goma. In another incident on Tuesday night 75,000 people fled their homes following a gun battle in Kibati, just six miles from the city.

“More than half of our women are missing classes in our training program in Goma,” says Christine Karumba via phone from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “Due to the volatile situation they are unable to reach our training facilities.”

“We worry that many of our women have been displaced and lost all their belongings – or, even worse, have once again become victims of violence. We will find them as soon as the situation allows us to go to their homes and help them to reintegrate into the program.” says Karumba.

Over the past decade, a brutal conflict has devastated much of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), leaving the country without a functioning infrastructure and most families in a state of crisis. More than five million people have died as a result of the violent conflict, most through disease and malnutrition and. Women are often directly targeted by combatants using rape and other forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war.


Women for Women International in DR Congo is currently assisting almost 7,000 women through financial support and a one year program that includes rights awareness, health education, and skills training. The organization works with communities in Bukavu, Goma, Fizi and Baraka in the heavily affected South and North Kivu provinces in Eastern Congo.



Filed under Democratic Republic of the Congo

16 responses to “Fear of Rape and Violence Rising – Women for Women Reaches Out To Vulnerable Women in Congo

  1. Ory

    We have set up a website to help chronicle what is going on in the DRC http://drc.ushahidi.com – reports can be submitted online or via a local mobile number. Please help spread the word to your staff on the ground, we believe it is so important to increase awareness about the local conditions and condition by amplifying the voices of the LOCAL people rather than relying just on third-party reports. We have also added your organization to the how to help page.

  2. Rasheedah

    Ms. Karumba,
    My name is Rasheedah Shabazz. I am a masters candidate for a degree in Conflict Transformation. I greatly value your work and diligence to work with the women who are affected by the war and uplift them to overcome this difficult time.

    If by any chance you are in need of an intern for 2009 starting in the summer. I would love to work with you in this struggle.

    Mandisa Ngozi (Sweet Blessings)

    Rasheedah Shabazz
    M.A. Conflict Transformation Candidate
    SIT Graduate Institute

  3. Nancy Boynton

    The horror and heartbreak continue. Without a strong unified message to the UN urging action by women and their supporters around the world these atrocities will continue. We must urgently seek to give these women a voice they do not yet have and wage our own WAR to support ending this type of violence. WAR “Women Against Rape”

  4. Ann Brooks

    Myself and several other women sponsor someone from the Congo. We are so worried about her. Below is our contact information for Eliza. If you know anything about her status and her family please email me. We have only received 1 letter from her since our sponsorship began over 6 months ago.

    Ann Brooks

    Your Name: Ann Brooks
    Sponsor ID# 453554694
    Sister’s Name: Eliza Moza Putombo
    Woman Group: Ndoko/Baraka
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

  5. Ann Brooks

    awaiting a response from comment above. Thanks

  6. Dorian Snyder

    I just read your comment and couldnt agree more. What is happening to Women and children in the DRC haunts me every minuete of every day. I volunteer for Human rights organizations by way of letter writing campains and will be makeing a donation to Panzi Hospital in Congo. But it is not enoph. Mass rape should be considered an act of terrorism. I want to do so much more, but I am frustrated at the incredibly slow (or non existant) response from the international community!

  7. I’m congolese asylee in US.I WANT TO RUN WITH YOU.There are my email and my website.

  8. Hello,

    I have been an RN for over twenty years and I have just written my first book. The book is entitled: From Ashes to Glory: The pathway to healing from sexual abuse. Although I haven’t been a victim of this act myself I have written it from a biblical and medical perspective using the character in scripture, Tamar, King’s David daughter to discribe the horrendous act. Please visit my website to read a nine page excerpt, click on books to read. My website is: hiddenjewelsintl.org. I pray that you enjoy the read.

    Barbara Smith, RN

  9. jacob john

    international community should react and collection of funds through the web site is not advisable

  10. YAA Adding this to my bookmarks. Thank You

  11. Payal

    Good thing found at your blog about email marketing! Welldone! You have placed a good information on your blog. But, I want to talk something more about email marketing. Actually, it is not too easy as it seems. Most of the people are under misconception that collecting email IDs and using a bulk email sender can make you successful. But it is not. What do you think? Actually, most of the businesses these days are not selling one product. They are selling different products for diff. niches and for the different markets. So, in this case they should have the different lists of bulk email IDs. Email Marketing is being difficult in these days. But still experiments are being done by a lot of people and companies. I usually keep on trying the products of the different companies. Now a days, some wonderful products are coming in the market that can give you great earning opportunities. I do not want my comment considered as spam here so will not discuss about my blog, but if you visit my blog then you will find, how I am using different products for my email marketing these days and making a lot Really! When I found your blog about email marketing, It was great one and I could not stop myself writing comment? But, last thing, I want to ask, Do you offer newsletter to your visitors or not? Do you know any kind of program to make effective newsletter? Waiting for reply – Thanks – Regards

  12. God bless you all for what you are doing for our Country. We have been praying for God to do something, we tried hard to help without any big success. But this is a god start.
    We are here to help, just tell us how?

    Best regards to you all and may Gods provide to all needs!

    Clarisse Kabeya.

  13. amy c boyd

    thanks to oprah’s show I am being made of this website and all these violence towards women. Reading about all these women/young children being raped brings tears to my eyes. What can I do, how can I become involved? I would like to join the run. where do I go for information?

  14. I read Nicholas Kristoff’s column in today’s New York Times and immediately went to the website he recommended to donate … when I click on the ‘donate” link, the connection fails. I imagine many busy women who are interested in contributing will have dropped off at this point. But what is your advice please?

  15. pierre yuma

    I am from Congo.Things that I see about violence against women make me sick.I want to make a differnce by becoming a member of an organisation in order to help women in my country.
    Pierre Yuma Kishepele.

  16. Diana Johnson

    Hello Ms. Karumba:
    I am a nursing student and when I seen the program in 2008, my heart burned for the longest for those sisters that are waiting and still waiting for corrective surgery. I also have noticed that the Doctor was shorthanded and performing six surgeries a day was too much. He seems to be very compassionate about his work and patients. I would like to research a way to raise the monies to assit with those in medical need. If you can assist me on what is needed, I would love to look into this and try my best at creativity for these precious women. whatever you need and can give me regarding advice, let me know. I will be graduating in 1 year and my dream is to come to Africa and work with the medical staff.

    Diana Johnson

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