Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Maman Shujaa Hero Women of Congo have emerged to put the voices of Congo women on the map, make their dreams and struggles known, and work together across differences to drive international policy. Today the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the most active regions in our global network, and the women of DRC are a rising force in the world.
Hero Women of the Congo Speak Out
In a country where outlets for women’s voices are scarce, the digitally empowered women of the Maman Shujaa Media Center are making themselves heard.
Within its first year, the Maman Shujaa Media Center in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo has established itself as a source of hope for women in a region devastated by civil war. The Maman Shujaa, or ‘Hero Women,’ as participants call themselves, walk, often for miles, to the center to take advantage of computer literacy training, connections, and opportunities.
They aren’t just learning how to use a mouse or load a webpage—they are discovering the power of their own voices. Every day, women from the Congo are logging onto World Pulse and making themselves heard through a process that spans languages and continents, engaging a growing pool of translators and francophone community members and volunteers. They are writing about violence against women, the environment, and their dreams for their country. The voices of the DRC’s grassroots women rising leaders, so often left out of local and global decision making, now have a platform to develop and express a unified vision.
Meet some of the Hero Women to learn how access to basic technology is transforming lives in the Congo. Read their stories and experience the beauty of this country’s potential from eyes of the women who are working to realize it.
Poem for the Land that Saw My Birth
I keep so many memories of you. You saw me born, you made me grow up, you fed me, you taught me.
I am grateful for it; you are my fortress, I love you, I love you so,
Despite the many difficulties of the war that have bereaved you and made this place inhospitable, pushing the populations off the fields which have been uncultivated for so long.
No matter, I love you from the bottom of my heart.
This place was once the granary of the former Kivu and everything that can be of the DRC, which today is in the grip of several rebellions that have caused many atrocities and crimes against humanity, and women in particular.
Despite this, it is and will continue to remain the landmark of welcoming, hospitable and courteous people.
This hospitality is mainly embodied by the women, who despite their vulnerability, remain the motor driving the development of this country.
Many of those departed from here were affected by the difficulties that beat down on this place, this place that remains like a field of battle despite the peace efforts headed by the international community.
Nevertheless you remain my darling and my hope.
I love you and all my country and my people as a whole.
I will never forget you.
English translation by community member JPCampbell0258.
Seeing So Far
You may have heard of the problems that our communities are faced with in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the Internet here that allows us to share our experiences.
Before I got connected online, I didn’t see far away; I only saw what was around me. But when I come here to the Maman Shujaa center, I find an Internet connection that lets me see more.
Here in the DRC access to the Internet is difficult for everyone, but even more so for women and young girls. The Internet used to be a place for men; finding a woman with Internet access was a rare case. But the Maman Shujaa center allows women to also connect to the Internet, and have the same abilities as men. My sisters, my mothers, there are beautiful things on the Internet. Since coming here, I’ve become another person. It has changed me so much, to be able to see so far.
With this online connection my voice can be heard by everyone and I can send my message to the world.
English translation by community member Pyrias. . . .