We are giving many thanks for the big support you have given us for our coronavirus prevention campaign.
In this extraordinary moment, our community in eastern Congo – Bukavu, Itombwe, and many surrounding rural areas – is suffering. Coronavirus has not yet caused an epidemic of illness there. However, the recommended lockdown measures mean that many families who rely on their own small business, and can normally afford $1-$2 per day to buy food, now have no income. It has become very hard for them to continue their small activities.
Right now, families are starving; children are fainting from hunger. Our work does not normally encompass direct humanitarian aid. However, this moment calls for “extreme solidarity.” Aid from many western organizations has now been cut off, and the government is not doing anything to help poor households. Food has become a huge problem here; people are becoming more afraid of hunger than Covid-19. Many families are eating sugarcane as a meal. While we don’t have the capacity to intervene on the scale that a government should, we must do our part, and stand with our community.
As mothers, we would never want to see neighbors die from a lack of food. This is why we feel such strong solidarity with the most vulnerable in our community in this very difficult moment of lockdown.
Now is the time to pull on the women heroes, the Maman Shujaa, of Eastern DRC. Our Synergy of women's organizations is uniquely positioned to bring together women from grass roots organizations, leverage their unique knowledge to determine the best use of limited resources, and support them with Covid-19 prevention training, equip them with personal protection like masks and soap made in our center, and let them quickly channel financial resources into the communities where they can do the most good and provide a lifeline to many families in desperate need.
Our vision for our sister organizations is for women of DRC to be recognized and esteemed for the engines of the community that they are. By supporting the Maman Shujaa at this critical moment of history, we continue to elevate these hero women while efficiently addressing the needs of the families and community of Bukavu.
HOW DOES THIS FIT INTO OUR MISSION?
Our mission is to strengthen women’s capacity and enable them to become leaders in their own right, to the extent of their dreams and abilities. One aspect of this mission is promoting grassroots women’s organizations and building their capacity. We represent the Synergy of Congolese Women’s Organizations (SAFECO).This project will support that goal by training Synergy members to report on the aid that
they have distributed to the communities they work with. They will be responsible for collecting the names of women who received aid, number of family members impacted, and other relevant information. This will be excellent training for them to become credible grant recipients in the future.