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HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
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LUMO and Congo Panel 2009

Raia Blum, a young woman from New Jersey, saw the LUMO documentary about a woman receiving treatment at the HEAL Africa hospital and said to herself, 'Lumo is my age and I could very well be in her position if I was in Congo." She felt so moved to help that she organized a film screening with the help of HEAL Africa. 

The Tribeca Cinema in New York City was full for the documentary showing and the audience had the rare opportunity to hear a panel moderated by author and journalist, Jimmie Briggs, speak about the current conflict and what Congolese on the ground are doing to bring about peace.

"This is one of the only panels I have been on where all of the panelists are either Congolese or have spent a significant amount of time in Congo. We need to get the voice of the Congolese out," said panelist member Noella Coursaris Musunka. 

Nelson Walker III, co-director of LUMO, and Judy Anderson, Executive Director of HEAL Africa, stressed the importance of HEAL Africa's local leadership and holistic approach to development recognizing that communities must be empowered to be catalysts for change. HEAL Africa hospital, where Lumo was treated for fistula repair surgery, has medically treated more than 13,000 survivors of sexual violence and trained 350 counselors to identify and support survivors through the healing process. 

Panelist Dr. Roger Luhiriri, a physician from Bukavu, DRC, spoke about the brutality of fistula cases he has repaired and called for the UN peacekeeping troops to step up protection by engaging with communities. Kambale Musavuli, spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, linked the war in Congo to a global battleground with Congo's resources as the object to win. He cited various different multi-national corporations complicit in the plunder of the Congo and called the audience members to get involved in three ways: 1. Use your time and talents to support local institutions like HEAL Africa on the ground  2. Write to government leaders to hold corporations named as illegally exploiting the Congo accountable for their actions  3. Tell people about what is going on in the Congo and join the global movement to raise the volume of Congolese voices.