A letter from my daughter, Ashley Nemiro, in Bukavu, Congo
Please go to the donation page listed below. These women desperately need help. The letter is from my daughter Ashley. ~ Dr. Deborah Wilson
I am writing to you today as a woman who sees an overwhelming need for change, for empowerment and for hope. Twenty-hour hours ago I entered the Bukavu, Congo. I had a slight understanding of the conditions here, but never would I have guessed that this city would be in a state of utter chaos. I was told on the plane today that 40 years ago Bukavu was in a better state then it is now; this, to my astonishment, is a true statement.
I am in the Congo to work with women who have been victims of sexual gender based violence. As a psychologist in training, I am here to provide women who are experiencing trauma the tools to help them recover and to gain some semblance of hope in the world.
After interviewing 19 women today, I was told time and time again horror stories about being raped, being abused, contracting HIV from their rapist, and being ostracized by their own family and husbands because of the crimes that were committed against them. I was told that women were impregnated by their own teacher, neighbors, and even family members and were left to raise the baby on their own at the young age of 13. I met women today who were homeless and told me that if it wasnt for their belief in God, that they would have ended their life.
Congo has suffered years of violence and genocide and it still continues to this day. With Bukavu being swarmed with NGO’s, I am shocked to be the only white person walking in the market. I met just 19 women out of thousands who have never received any formal trauma treatment. I know in my heart that I need to change this and ensure that the women living in the slums have the opportunity to gain access to psychological services.
The purpose for my next two months here is to work with as many women as I possibly can to give them the resources and ability to heal themselves. Sadly, there are thousands of women here in desperate need of restoring hope in their life.
I am asking you for your support. My mission is to build a formal trauma-healing center that is run by Congolese women that I will personally train and to cultivate hope, healing and empowerment. Our goal is to build a formal trauma-healing component into the Centre Ushindi curriculum, and to create a Trauma Healing Training center within the center for peer counselors to treat and train other women in the community. Peer counselors will be chosen from the community and undergo training to implement the trauma-healing curriculum and to become group counselors. The goal is to develop sustainable mental health and healing programs in an area where they did not previously exist.
The rent for a center each year is $1,400. To pay the two psycho social care givers each month is $400, including school fees for 80 girls, its $500 a month. Please give what you can. All donations are tax exempt. You will be sent a donation receipt for your records.
Empower Congo Women
Empower Congo Women is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are fully tax-exempt under USA law. www.empowercongowomen.org
Photo courtesy of http://healingtraumaindrcongo.blogspot.com/.