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Five Congo nurses create organization to aid Congo women raped by rebel fighters

Page history last edited by Rosemary 12 years, 3 months ago


In recent years, a horrendous human catastrophe has taken place in the Kivu region of the DR Congo, during which an estimated 3.5 to 5.5 million people were killed or died. Rebel insurgents systematically targeted women, who were frequently raped in front of their children and husbands and often sexually mutilated in an appalling manner. All too often, they contracted AIDS as a result.

A nurse in Bukavu, Beatrice Kabemba-Bapemacho, was so alarmed and moved by their plight that she and four other nurses created the Association of Women Nurses to assist women and children rape victims who are infected with HIV/AIDS. The association gives very small micro-credit loans ($20) to women, on the condition they undergo an HIV test. If the test is positive, the women are then directed to an organization like Doctors Without Frontiers, which has the means of paying for their treatments. (The loans are of course given whatever the result of the test).

What is remarkable is that the loan beneficiaries are organized into groups where they not only share their experiences but are also given an education called “living values”. For instance, they learn that by reimbursing their loans they are practicing integrity and manifesting love for other women, who in turn will receive the rotating reimbursed credit funds.

To start the association, the five women founders, all nurses, each gave $20 (out of a monthly income of $60 to $100) to get a few women started. Since then, they have received extremely modest support from a few private individuals, but have no regular funding. However, they continue their activities. Some women in the micro-credit groups have already started returning to their villages.

In 2008, the Association was honoured with the Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life, with a special award of $3,000.00, by the Women’s World Summit Foundation. In all, 13 laureates were honoured by the WWSF in 2008. The Prize draws international attention to women's contributions to sustainable development, household food security and peace, and helps them gain recognition and support for their community work.




For more stories about womens health, see:

A thousand people walk to save womens' lives in western Georgia

Inexpensive tracking of maternal deaths can help protect maternal health – Indian study

Hundreds run in Tanzania to increase breast cancer awareness, action

Community grants raise breast cancer awareness in Mexico

Motorbike ambulances save lives of mothers, babies, in remote areas of Africa

Fistula operation ends shame, allows women to rejoin society

Bringing health care to the patients saves womens’ lives in Mali

Cervical cancer control 'achievable for the first time'

Vinegar provides simple cervical cancer screening test where Pap smears not available

Trained birth attendants save mothers' lives in Ethiopia

Respect for Bolivia’s indigenous mothers may help reduce high maternal mortality rates

Affordable menstrual pads keep girls in school, create jobs


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