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Democratic Republic of the Congo

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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.

Visit our new DRC Region Page to engage with this growing community.

Woman to Watch: Passy Mubalama

When Esperance began attending the local women’s committee AIDPROFEN, she started to learn about her rights. After a year of education, she explained her problem to the group. With AIDPROFEN’s counseling and legal support, Esperance resolved to go to court to claim her rights for her sake and the sake of her children.

The judge ruled in her favor, requiring her husband to stop beating her and to give her money to buy food for the children. For the time being Esperance and her children are happy. In AIDPROFEN we continue to teach her about her rights and also provide her with some work. This helps her take care of herself and fortify her independence.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to securing the rights of women and children in the DRC?

The biggest challenge today is the continued armed conflict and wars that characterize the region of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where we live. Working as an advocate for human rights in general and being a women's rights defender in particular in such a situation is not easy. In addition to my being a survivor of various forms of violence and discrimination in my society simply because I am a woman, the political and security situation in the DRC does not let me as a human rights defender work in peace. Very often I am the target of armed groups and politicians who do not want their violations of human rights reported.

Another significant challenge to women and children’s rights is the Congolese legal system. Legislation that advocates for their equal rights is not implemented. The judicial system in the DRC is corrupt and thus impunity reigns. Even if perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice, they may be released immediately after their arrests and move freely in the community. This greatly threatens survivors’ security.

How has the current situation in Goma impacted women and children in your community and your work?

In Goma we live in insecurity and constant anxiety. We can no longer travel in the city after 6 pm because the only form of transport, the motorcycle taxi, was banned to prevent murder. To stay safe women and children make sure they are home by 6 pm, but still live in perpetual fear.

Children simply lose hope of living. They see their future destroyed; some have lost their parents, some are forced to integrate with the armed forces or rebel groups, and others are out on the streets because they have nowhere to go.

The security situation affects all aspects of my life including my work. Often I see friends, brothers and sisters, and other family members die and leave behind orphans who are themselves victims of violence. Sometimes gunfire and the sound of bombs going off prevent me from going to the office or meeting with survivors of abuse.

It has also been difficult for me to sleep well when I know that there are many other women and children like me who are suffering. They don’t have food or clothes and they sleep outside. Every day we are stressed, but I am still convinced that I can help women and children to live their lives in a better way.

What advice do you have for young future women leaders?

I ask other young women who might be future leaders in the world to be brave, to be courageous, and to make the campaign for women and children's rights their priority. This needs to be our first mission – to work hard together to help women in our communities know their rights and claim them. Ultimately we want to ensure that women's rights are respected in all countries.

*Name has been changed.

Connect with Passy Mubalama.

Comments

Y's picture

Hello, EKG. Your article is

Hello, EKG.
Your article is well-written. Do you know if birth control is part of women's education in Passy's agency?

Y

Emily Garcia's picture

Connecting with Passy

Hi Y,

Thank you for your comment. I don't know the answer to your question, but if you would like to connect with Passy Mubalama directly, she is here in the community and one of the Voices of Our Future correspondents this year. Here is a link to her profile: http://worldpulse.com/user/16877.

Warmest wishes,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

Ayunnie's picture

Congrats

Hi Passy,
Keep up the good work

@ Nairobi KENYA
Women have impeccable character, if tapped society realizes quantum leap in development

Monica09's picture

Inspiring

Dear EKG,

Thank you so much for highlighting the story of her work. Her resilience boosts the confidence of many women.

Passy, you are a wonderful soul! You give me courage to overcome the barriers.

Regards,
Monica

Emily Garcia's picture

Thanks for reading, Monica! I

Thanks for reading, Monica! I agree - Passy is a courageous woman whose work is an inspiration.

I just watched your video on the violence many domestic workers in Bangladesh face. Thank you for calling attention to this injustice!

Kind regards,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

Kara-Amena's picture

Great article

Hi Emily,

Thanks for this powerful story about Passy and her work. I just watched her video also. Seeing the IDP camp and the women and children living in those conditions was very eye-opening. Women like Passy who have the strength and courage to make a difference in the face of so many challenges are amazing. It is so hard for me to imagine walking in their shoes. But spreading word of their plight and learning about their efforts helps us all to understand better. It reminds me of the title of Zainab Salbi's book - "If You Knew Me You Would Care." That's what World Pulse does - it helps us to know the people who are suffering so that we can care enough to join their struggle to make things better. I'm glad you helped to spread that message.

Kara

Emily Garcia's picture

Thank you!

Hi Kara,

Thank you for reading and for your kind and thoughtful comments. Yes, what Passy has accomplished helping women and children in eastern DRC is incredible and I agree that it helps enormously to see the human faces behind the stories of both strife and success. It helps us connect on a human level with those who are suffering in our world. I agree with you completely.

And you too are an inspiration! I loved hearing your story at World Pulse LIVE and all that you have been able to accomplish as a listener. The work you do is activism too!

Looking forward to connecting with you again soon!

Warmly,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

emillam's picture

Your video

Passy: You have done such marvelous work and you continue to come up with some of the best ideas possible to help women and families in your war-torn area. I am so grateful that the DR of the Congo has a woman like you to stand up for what is right and use the courage and fortitude that it takes to keep stretching the boundaries for women in the right direction. You are truly a heroine and a real model for others!

Elaine R. Millam

mayele's picture

Congratulation my sister

as a congolese woman i really appreciate what Passy is doing.

Mayele , Maman shujaa and World Pulse volunteer

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