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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two more ways to support Congolese women

For the athletic:

Run for Congo Women

You can run at an event, as a group, even as an individual. Donations are made through the organisation below; the same ways to donate apply. Here are some 'talking points' from this organisation:

Talking Points
  • Are you familiar with the Rwandan Genocide of 1994? At it's conclusion, militias were pushed over the border into the Congo, where they continued killing, raping, and terrorising Congolese. They continue to this day.
  • Chaos erupted into what has been termed "Africa's First World War", as rag-tag militias backed by 9 African governments roam Congolese forests, terrorizing civilians.
  • All countries involved use the war as a cover for looting diamonds, gold, coltan, and other precious resources from this mineral rich region, according to the United Nations.
  • More hope than ever has arisen, with a peace treaty in 2003, and recent elections. And yet…
  • More than 4 million people have died.
    • 38,000 continue to die every month, 1200 a day.
    • This is the equivalent of an Asian Tsunami every 6.5 months
    • Or a September 11 every 2.5 days
    • Half of these deaths are children under the age of 5 years.
    • Most children don't reach their 5th birthday.
    • Women are targeted daily for gang rape, torture, and sexual slavery.
  • And yet we don't talk about the Congo. Never heard of this conflict? You aren't alone. Most people haven't. It receives almost no news coverage.
  • The Congolese people know they have not been worth the effort in the eyes of the world. "When 4 million people have died, and no one cares, we don't feel human anymore."- Jean Paul, Congolese man.

Run for Congo Women was created by everyday women like us to send a message of hope and dignity to women living through this conflict. This year, I'm going to donate to RFCW--and if I can, I'll sponsor a woman. I don't have much money to give, but what little I can will be pooled with others to make a difference in the lives of these women. And I can help raise awareness through this blog and other avenues. Here's why it's important to me: but for an accident of birth, any of us could be experiencing the horrors of the women of the Congo...every woman deserves the inherent dignity she has as a human being and to live--and if she chooses, to raise a family--in safety. Violence against women must stop if we are ever to rise above the baser aspects of the human condition. Women are important. They raise each new generation--and violence against women does harm not only to the woman, but to their partners, their children, their families, and their communities.

We are raising awareness and sponsorships through Women for Women International's Congo program. For $27/ month we can sponsor a war affected woman with support groups, rights awareness, job training, literacy, and other training, as well money to use at her discretion, and we can exchange letters with her. The goal is self-sufficiency within 1 year. The programme has been endorsed by Oprah.

Here's what I'm asking:
  • Support my efforts by signing up to sponsor a woman in Congo through Women for Women International.
  • Host a Congo Care Gathering, to educate your circle about what is happening in the Congo.
  • Can't sponsor? Donate a flat amount to Women for Women's Congo programme.

We hope you will join the statement that is Run for Congo Women, however you chose to get involved. In fact, by taking the time to listen, you already have!

Congolese lives matter. The lives of Congolese women are significant. The lives of Congolese children are precious. The have waited far too long. They are worth our effort. We are running to help.


Women for Women International

For $27 a month, you can sponsor a woman (in Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, or the Sudan), providing her with financial support, job skills training, rights education to make her life and that of her family better. You receive a packet with information about the woman and can exchange letters with her if you like. They also accept flat fee donations.

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