In early June, Mary Dailey Brown, CEO of SowHope, and Dr. Sylivia Juta visited three partners from different areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Reports of tragedy from the first two partners were shocking.
SowHope’s first project in the DRC was a birthing center that has served thousands of women. It has been successful, sustainable, and has served as a model for birthing clinics in seven neighboring villages. During the past three years, this area has faced violence from several rebel groups. Recently, one rebel group destroyed the entire village in one night, including the original birthing center, and killed over 200 people. Our partner Monique was not in the village that night, but two of her sons died during the massacre. While the survivors live in a UN tent camp, plans to rebuild their village about 20 miles away are underway. Monique requested funds for another birthing center in their new village.
In the next village, our partner Claudaline described a massive mudslide that occurred in early April which killed over 5,000 people and destroyed nearly 800 homes in an area where SowHope has funded farming projects for several years. It was a market day where people from miles around had come to buy and sell, and many of our beneficiaries were there. Claudaline said it is nearly impossible to identify the victims since most were buried in the rubble or washed away into a large lake.
Finally, with the staff of our third partner, we conducted a 2-day conference for 15 women group leaders. This was the highlight of the trip! Extremely impoverished and victims of rape, these women shared powerful stories of personal transformation. Their microfinance project has earned enough money for most of them to buy land, build their own houses, and send all their children to school! Their goal is to start additional microfinance groups to help more women. They are true treasures.