Teach 4200 women in the Congo (DRC) basic literacy

by Women for Women International
Sep 28, 2009

Women's Stories: Francine & Leonie

Francine Francine Mawazo M'Cibwanda is a20-year-old married woman. She has so far received 9 letters from her sponsor and has sent 4 letters. The letters from my sponsor are the most precious object I keep, Francine said. They give me comfort, insight, and hope for life. I have discovered that my sister and I are sharing the same challenges, actually in the emotional life.

My sponsor wrote to me that she is married for about 4 years, but she has never had any child either. My contribution as she wrote to me about that, I feel that I should pray for her as she also needs prayers for a child. Note that Francine had delivered 3 times under cesarean, but all her children die before she leaves the maternity. Prior joining the program she could felt miserable, without any hope and joy. The fact that my sister support me while going to a similar situation is a breath of life. On top of that the training in the topic “stress management” which align with the advice from my sister have been a lot of support for me to regain hope of life and see life positively as my sister does. As I have been the most privileged in my group to receive many letters from my sister, my group mates envy her, they wished to have such a deep connection with their sisters too. I wrote 4 letters only because we must write every quarter and because I put all my thought summarized in one letter so that it remains interesting to my sister.

Following the fact that I recover joy, and contribute to the income of my family, my husband has become supportive and does not see the loss we had by not having children. Actually, I work on a renting farm with her husband, in which they grow cassava, potatoes and amaranths. She uses her sponsorship funds to buy fertilizer for her farm and satisfy some other primary needs. My dream is soon to buy that land for further use.

I was trainer in soap making which will be the second source of income for me on top of the agriculture activities which are permanent needs in my community.

Leonie Leonie Biralo M’Mpango is a 42-year old rape survivor. She has received 3 letters from her sister and sponsors Amy and had sent 3 also. The letters have been for a great emotional support. Letters tell more because one could seat, take time, think about words to comfort and please one and for me this is what had been so emotional, to see that someone who does not know me can take time to write to me or my husband does not have even time to listen to my pain, worries, despair”, she said.

She gave birth to 11 children, but 5 died because of hard life conditions and ignorance. She has 3 boys and 3 girls. 2 boys and a girl are in school. She was raped twice in her house. The first time by 2 men, the second time 5 did. She got pregnant from the latter and gave birth to a baby boy Elie whom she is still feeding on breasts. Elie is 2 years old. She said she was in terrible grief and had permanent worries when she was pregnant because she only thought of death at delivery. But she delivered safely and felt a great relief. When she was raped the second time, her husband said she would no longer remain with a wife of the Hutu Interahamwe and that he would remain with his other 2 wives. Leonie was left in his misery starving with his other 5 children.

When a Women for Women team went for enrollment in Kalulu village, Leonie got enrolled in Orhaciyumya group. Since she got the training on women’s rights and that of Stress management, they washed her worries out, and she left her isolation to start sensitizing other women in her environment about women’s rights, and women building solidarity network for unity and development. She therefore became president of the solidarity group which they named “Abagwasinye” which means, people who are in mutual comfort. She said they did this to avoid women’s rights violation in their community, Kahave, but also to believe that women can be a comfort to others in such an safe environment.

She holds meetings and sometimes invites the Head of their county to attend the meetings so that he can know the kind of development they are doing. She said a woman who misses the meeting without sending an excuse, she is sent to work in a farm of a vulnerable other woman a day. They farm for other people and generate income for the group. They buy cloths which they share or food. She did animal husbandry for vocational skills training and she sells very small dried fish which other women come to buy at her place.

She hopes she will work hard in animal husbandry and agriculture to grant her children good education levels. Her 2 first sons said they wish to become nurses in town.


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Organization Information

Women for Women International

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.womenforwomen.org
Project Leader:
Lyndsay Booth
Online Marketing Coordinator
Washington, DC United States

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Thanks to 88 donors like you, a total of $8,251 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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