Tribute to religious sisters in the war-torn region of the Great Lakes in Africa
March 8, International Women’s Day, is an opportunity to support these women who care for people who have endured atrocities. The religious sisters introduced below extend often the only aid and social structures to which vulnerable people and victims of violence have access.
Pax Christi International provides these women with the means to make a difference through training in active nonviolence. Thanks to this support, these sisters improve the care of victims and open up new perspectives on a less violent and more serene world.
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More than 20 years of war and armed conflict have weakened the civilian population of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In particular, women, girls and children are most often the victims of all forms of violence (rape, theft, poverty, forced displacement, extortion, looting, physical, economic and moral violence as well as all kinds of barbarities) committed by men who wield firearms and knives.
Most often, these victims find refuge with religious communities, who are sometimes also victims of the same barbarity. They generally offer the necessary help and are obliged to be attentive to all miseries.
In fact, the programs administered by the religious sisters — hospitals, health centers, maternity wards, nutritional centers, schools, etc. — are generally the only social structures used by vulnerable people and victims, particularly in rural areas.
The religious sisters who are in contact with these bruised populations are often exhausted, due to the ongoing requests for help. The misery and cries of anguish of the populations who receive their services also affect them at different levels.
Pax Christi International offers training on the themes of active nonviolence, peace building, and trauma healing that is important and necessary for religious sisters engaged in coaching and support for neighboring communities and victims of violence across the DRC, particularly in the most affected areas of eastern Congo.
Training gives tools, knowledge, and methods that can help them in their programs and in the care of women and girls who have survived terrible violence, particularly in conflict zones where armed groups are raging.
This is a means of healing for the sisters themselves and also a capacity building on active nonviolence, to support and improve the care of victims.