In Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), COOPI provides shelter and education to more than 100 young girls accused of being witches by local superstitions. These girls, some as young as six years old, have been forced out of their homes and shunned by their communities. Any time a family tragedy occurs, such as the death of a family member, a severe illness or a financial loss, it's common for ignorance and superstition to blame a young girl, holding her responsible as an "evil witch".
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the loss of a family member, a severe illness in the family, or a financial loss often goes beyond that singular tragedy. Due to local superstition and ignorance, girls as young as six years old are held responsible for these tragedies and labeled a witch. Oftentimes, young girls are forced out of their homes and shunned by their communities, left homeless, alone and scared.
COOPI established a special center in Bukavu named "Ek'Abana", run by Sister Natalina Isella. The center offers shelter, psychological support, school support and vocational training, family mediation and reconciliation, with the goal of preparing the girl and her family for a positive reintegration, allowing these girls to return to their families and communities. The center currently houses 42 girls, while another 70 have already been successfully reintegrated into their families.
Thanks to the Ek'Abana center and the care and services it provides, we are giving these girls the opportunity for a better life and the chance to be reunited with their communities. With your support, hundreds more will be reintegrated into their families, given access to education, vocational training and healthcare, and regain their right to be a productive member of their society.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
American Friends of COOPI website