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Names of the women in these stories have been changed to protect their identify.
Maya is 36 years old with 6 children aged from 3 to 15. They are from the village of Masisi. They were farmers growing ground nuts, beans, and maize. She was working on her farm when the rebel soldiers came. They were fighting – they were the M23. They raped her. When she went home her husband said since you have been raped I cannot have you anymore. He left her with the children. She is now a porter working on the road – if someone has something heavy to carry she helps them and they pay her money. She uses a strap on her head to carry things. She is living with her brother now and her children live there as well –but only for sleeping. Because there is no money the children cannot go to school. Since the day she went to the field to help her family her life has changed. She hopes there are people with a good heart who might help support her. How does she see her future – if she doesn’t get help she dies. She asks for support in school feesfor her children. After she was raped she went to the hospital and they gave her medicine. She has not seen her husband he went very far away through the hospital. Other men support the husband and feel he is justified in leaving his wife. Women don’t judge the samebecause they understand and they know. She will not go back to Masisi because she is still feeling very badly in her heart. In order for the Congo to change she believes they need to get peace and for the fighting to stop. She hopes she can build a small house for her and her children and not be living with her brother.
Photo by Heather Haynes
Ange officially married a young man at the Protestant church. She studied in secondary school and they had two children. When her husband died she left school. She came to work with the orphans in 2009. She weeps when she speaks about her life. She remembers when they wanted to send all the children home to Masisi and the war was still raging. Ange remembers how she brought beans, maize flour and charcoal for children. And when the charcoal was finished, children were obliged to be going to look for the ruined shoes and abandoned shoes to cook their food. Ange says thank you to everything the Canadian women are doing to help - it is a voice that adds the happiness of these children and vulnerable populations in Congo. Ange is a chorister and treasurer of the Women's church choir.
Grace is 50 years old and comes from Walikale (in the equatorial forest). She gave birth to 10 children, 5 have died and 5 are alive. Five years ago the FDLR came to her village and she tried to run. They heard the fighting and ran for their lives. They ran to where the rebels were hiding. They shot her husband in front of her and 3 of them raped her. It is by the grace of God that she is here. Her 5 children live with her in Goma. She works as a porter. She has suffering in her stomach (and pressure due to what happened to her) and her head is very troubled. No NGOs helped them. She would like to see God help us and other people to help us and to get rid of all the problems. She asks that Canadian women provide help, advice and give the message to others.


Stories of women from Democratic Republic of Congo as translated by Emmanuel and told to Cathy Cleary and Heather Haynes February 2014.