This week, the regional Africa Coordinator of Pax Christi International, Mr Serakabuza, is organizing a training for religious sisters in the Democratic Republic in Congo, in skills and methods to deal with victims of violence, in particular girls, children and women. Our partners are the Episcopal Commission for the Institute of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CEIS) and the Dynamique Femme pour la Paix of the Episcopal Justice and Peace Commission.
DRC has experienced more than 20 years of war and armed conflicts that have not only weakened the entire civilian population, but also negatively impacted their stability especially among women, girls and children. Women and girls are often victims of all forms of violence (rape, theft, poverty, forced displacement, extortion, looting, physical, economic and moral violence…). They often seek refuge in religious communities who are committed to assist and take care of victims of violence across the country. Sometimes, sisters themselves are victims of violence . Hospitals, health centers, schools, etc. – run by religious sisters –are generally the only social structures where vulnerable people and victims of violence can go, especially in rural areas. The sisters are often exhausted. By helping victims and listening to their stories, sisters often absorb their pain and this affects them on different levels. The training on active nonviolence, peacebuilding and trauma healing is meant as a way of healing for religious sisters and as a way of strengthening and improving their support capacities.