”A prolonged war like the one in the Congo has devastating effects on human beings. Not only physically, but mentally and spiritually too.
Hope in Action tries to include this holistic view in our work and support.
An injured person does not need just physical help so we have focused much of our work on the period of healing that follows an act of violence.
Hope in Action stays on when others leave the trouble spots. We build in the long term and want to see a new society built when the war is over.”
Hope in Action works with various projects for example with supporting rape victims, rehabilitation for child soldiers, micro finance and they also run a small hospital.
GARITE was very taken by Rosa’s story, a 6-year-old rape victim.
“We live in the Nzulu refugee camp, me, my mother and my little brother. We have lived in a little hut since Daddy died in the war. It was evening and Mom had to go out for a little while. She told me to stay indoors but I had to go to the toilet. My little brother was asleep and I waited for a long time for Mom to come back.” From time to time the small girl looked up at me. She was rather short and when I asked her how old she was she said she was almost seven. I had come to have a look at the new building that was to be a kitchen and dining room for the Lydia programme’s women’s centres in Goma. While I was walking between the dormitories and the new building, some women approached me and wanted me to listen to this little girl who had arrived that morning with her mother. She had been raped by a grown man in the refugee camp and the women at the centre were sad and upset. “Can’t you take a photo of Rosa and tell the people in “Ulaya” (Europe) what life is like for us here when you get back?” I’ve heard the same thing many times in different contexts throughout my trip. People are tired of war and misery. Rosa continues her story. “When Mom didn’t come back I unlocked the door and went out. I had a torch and the toilet is only a few houses away. Just as I had finished and was leaving, I saw a man standing there waiting for me. He dragged me behind a house and held his hand over my mouth when I tried to scream. Then he took off my clothes. It’s hard for Rosa to go on. She can’t find the words but the nurse assures me that she was brutally raped. Rosa looks at me and says, “I know who he is. He lives at the camp and I’ve seen him before.” She’s a very capable girl, little Rosa. She tells her story well and corrects her mother when she gets things wrong. Only six, small and fragile. She is to meet the doctor at Kyeshero Hospital the same day and is a little anxious. Rosa was nonetheless very fortunate (if that word can be used about such a thing). Her mother believed her without question and knew that help was available. At the reception centre she was taken care of by kindly women who were able to calm her down. She will be given the care she needs. If she needs an operation, there is free help available.
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P.S. For all you Swedes, please take some time and read this article.