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Stories of women from Democratic Republic of Congo as translated by Emmanuel and told to Cathy Cleary and Heather Haynes February 2014. Names of the women in these stories have been changed to protect their identify.


Maya is 42 years old with 6 children. They are from the village of Masisi and were farmers growing ground nuts, beans, and maize. She was working on her farm when the M23 rebel soldiers came. 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. Since the day she went to the field to help her family her life has changed. She fled to Goma with her children to work as a porter on the road carrying very heavy loads. She used a strap on her head to carry things. Maya joined the training centre with the first group of women in 2014. Since that time she has become the a member of the women’s advisory committee and the assistant coordinator of the training She children are now attending school. She hopes there are people with a good heart who will continue to support the training centre. 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 one day soon she can build a small house for her and her children.

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 the government 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 the many orphaned children. And when the charcoal was all gone, children were obliged to look for old ruined shoes to use as fuel 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 rebels came to her village. Many of the villagers 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. She feels it is by the grace of God that she is here. Her 5 children live with her in Goma. Before the training centre started, she also worked as a porter. She has suffered in her stomach (and pressure due to what happened to her) and her head is very troubled. No NGOs helped them. She is trying very hard with her sewing skills to earn an income to help her family.