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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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30,000 women. That’s how many lives have come through HEAL Africa’s program for women Heal My People.

“Our ideas have been transformed by our experience,” says Mama Muliri at my dining room table in the woods of Washington State. Mama Muliri is a founding leader of Heal My People, HEAL Africa’s ambitious program to give survivors of war and gender violence in Congo a new future.

In 2003 Mama Muliri and two others got into the back of a truck and rode into one of the deadliest war zones in the world to begin interviewing women about the stories of systemic rape that were coming out of the hills and forests around Goma. Not only were the stories true, but the need was greater than anyone could imagine.

Since its start when she returned, Heal My People has served over 30,000 women, providing safety, hospital care, counseling, community, education, training, and opportunity to women in crisis. The goals of the warlords were to destroy the fabric on Congolese society through rape and murder. And it was working. Heal My People set out to do the exact opposite, to directly address the trauma and destruction, first by healing bodies, hearts and minds, and then by building and strengthening communities where survivors can have a future.

“We used to call them victims. Then we used the word, survivor. But even that term really doesn’t mean much in terms of their status. Surviving is a good and necessary step but it doesn’t give them meaning and purpose. We had to develop strategies and actions to help them become women well integrated in their communities, productive and valued members of society in order to rebuild the tattered fabric of village life. HEAL Africa is like a basket weaver, strengthening the knots as we go, so that the basket will be waterproof, and be able to carry the load.”

Helping Women succeed“Providing a way for women to share their experience, information and skills is key to the future. Women come to the Wamama Simameni houses to talk, to learn about their rights, to learn new skills (literacy, sewing, baking), and to think about how to educate the young to prevent violence and abuse in the next generation. These homes were built by HEAL Africa, but become the women’s own resource centers. There are 28 of them today in North Kivu and Maniema. We continue to keep in touch with the women who’ve been cared for through the network of counselors. I know the stories of many of the women who’ve come to HEAL Africa for treatment. We still get news from them. This link back to the village through the counselors is a real strength of HEAL Africa’s care.”

“We have developed a savings and loan system (TKM) to help women—and others-- develop their economic ability to support their families. The first six months has been evaluated, and there was 98% repayment rate. It’s because the women know each other and want to succeed. There are many waiting to receive the loans, so there’s pressure to pay back.”

This has huge implications for an area where there are no banks and few roads. HEAL Africa is working for the people of Congo in the small villages, speaking their languages, knowing their cultures, and helping them stand together on their own. The strongest community will be the one where the women and men work together for their own children’s future.

The wars over the past decades here have been fought over the incredible riches buried in the remote earth of Eastern Congo. Warlords and foreign companies have profited from their extraction, while those who have lived here for centuries have suffered the most horrific acts of brutality.

The people of Congo need peace. With the hope for peace, HEAL Africa is working to built resilient communities that are emerging out the terrible suffering of their members. Their model is public health based, results driven and is being carefully tracked and researched so that it can be refined and improved. And the results are amazing!

Your support keeps Mama Muliri and others like her doing this innovative work in many villages. Your word of mouth to promote this work is much appreciated! Please send this to your friends who wonder about what’s going on in Congo.

Thank you.

In peace,


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