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This story is part of World Pulse’s Democratic Republic of Congo Regional Focus Campaign to End Violence Against Women. These testimonies, along with hundreds of others, were delivered to the 2013 African Union Summit.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.

Learn more about the campaign.

Listening to the Voices of Congo’s Women


Ruhebuza Vumilia Jeanette

A Voice for Girls Education

In my homeland, the powerful nature of women is not recognized. From a very young age, we are dismissed as less than. The birth of a son is announced with two joyful shouts, while the birth of a daughter elicits only one shout. Even our naming structure reflects gender inequality. Boys are called Nahano, Cubaka, Ntunga, meaning Owner, Builder, Pillar, while girls are called by names like Nabintu, Ziraje, Nankanfu—all denoting investments, as daughters bring dowries and monetary gain.

As such, many women are not formally educated, since families don’t see the importance of sending a daughter to school. This cycle continues when that daughter becomes a mother, and she in turn does not send her daughter to school. The mother is the child’s first teacher, and we know that if you educate a woman you educate a whole village!

There is radical potential for my country if education for women is prioritized. Lack of education contributes to rampant violence against women in my country, especially in the rural areas. Remember that without education the economic power of women is weak. This is a dangerous combination and men take advantage of it to harass and scorn us.

Let us raise a cry to people of good will so that they will support literacy and access to schools. Let us awaken society’s conscience to ban outdated customs. Let us encourage churches to invest more in education and instruction to loyal patrons. Let us cry out to those who are able to give scholarships for the strengthening of female leadership.

And let us raise a cry of warning to the international community so that lasting peace comes to Congo. As women, let us unite and hold hands for a common cause so that one-day the flags in the hands of women can cry victory.


Anuarite Basedeke

A Voice Exposing Atrocities

I am a 26-year-old woman living in war-torn Eastern DRC, and every day I learn of new atrocities committed against my sisters. This is a war that plays out on the bodies of women; we have become the battlefield.

Recently, I heard of a woman who was cut into pieces, disassembled as if she were a radio put together with screws. Firstly, they destroyed her reproductive organs then they killed her.

Our parents are surprised at what is happening in the land of our ancestors. They tell us they have never before experienced such things: a girl is raped in front of her parents; a mother is raped in front of her husband and children; a pregnant woman is raped and her baby ripped from her body; 220 people are burned in one province.

How can a human being maltreat another human being to this extent? And why are women always the first victims? Were we not created like the others? It seems that the rebels have decided that it is only on the body of a woman that war can take place.

I ask that the world pray for my country, for it is said that, "It is better to prevent the bleeding than to wait and cure the wound."

 . . .


amadea's picture

international plea

we are an international organisation face ( forum des associations congolaise de l'étranger) eforum of congolese organisations abroad...
We are from de congolese diaspora, we stood up years ago, in plea to internatiional leaders against the thundering silence around the congolese crisis.

We the congolese diaspora, we spend yearly 9 .OOO.OOO.OOO , 9 billions usd to our families , this amount is more than the year budget of the country, we pay for school, births, hospitatl costs, school and university fee, food, drugs, funeral...replacing the declined state

We believe that only the veracity of polls now and in the futule, will stop the access of adventurers , coming from nowhere, with fake identity and parents to the top of the administration and having no values at all, collaborate openly with the enemy, to their wealth sake, money they poured into offshore accounts...Killing for money shame on all of you.

Following the un resolution 1325 and 1820 , we are convinced that only a genderised leadership will put an end to the suffering of our people, women and men are different and complementary, i can't imagine a women minister of finance, not allowing the payment of soldiers active on the battlefield during a war " to preserve the stability of the money" as openly declared matata mponyo the nowadays Minister of Finance in DRC, on the national tv.

Only the respect of the voice populi will give the chance to developpment of our country
as all the rwandan illegal oulaws in DRCONGO left congo when president kagame took power, we'll assist to the same phenomenon, if a responsible, accountable,legitime, patriot leads Congo,all those illegals, criminals, and barbarian we'll take a french leave an slit into rwanda an get back to the hard labour.

What do you expect from a governor like Paluku, claiming after his return in Goma, that " don't point out who works with M23 or not, let's forgive....In wartime, anywhere in the world, the one collaborating with the enemy are brought to court for betrayal

Women will talk, protest, dr Mukwege will operate more and more women until exhausted...Only an accountable leadership can solve the global problems in Congo, we believe Congo has a cancer, and the more active site of disease

With the vision of our assassinated prime minister Patrice Lumumba, the financial righteousness of the Late President Kasa vubu, with the stature of state man of the late President Marichal Moubutu,and the people comittment to the late Mzee Laurent Desiré Kabila, We'll follow the path of Qatar: in 20 years they turnt a desert into a 21st futurist state.

We people of the DRCongo, together we'll be successfull, devided, in tribes and provinces we'll fail....The fate of our grassroot sisters and brothers in the Kivu, is our own, all of fus

amiesissoho's picture

In solidarity with our Sisters

Togetherness is strength in times of despair. In solidarity with sisters in Congo. I met a few and they were so nice. As a woman and a mother I understand what it means when impunity seems to be the order of the day, even in my country. We stall not stop looking for alternatives. stay strong.


ansupokharel's picture


We have to fight harder and of course we are ONE...


Anisha Pokharel

starseed's picture

Maman Shujaa

Dear Neema,

Your writing is powerful and I love how you say, that you've learned how making the impossible possible simply requires making a different set of rules.

The photo of the Maman Shujaa is so very beautiful. Your voice is reassuring. Thank you for your bravery and dedication.


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