HEALing Arts: Empowering Survivors of Sexual Violence
Women and girls bear the brunt of the conflict in Congo – their bodies have become the battlegrounds on which a bloody conflict over Congo’s rich mineral wealth is being waged. And the trauma of rape and sexual violence lasts long after physical scars may have healed – women seeking medical treatment for rape face stigmatization, see their savings depleted and may not be able to return to their traditional livelihoods – often intensive agricultural labor.
The HEALing Arts Program, in partnership with HEAL Africa, gives survivors of sexual violence a second chance. By teaching women vocational skills such as sewing and tailoring, the program offers them both a chance to pay for their medical treatment and a way to restart their lives when they are well enough to return home. Once trained, the women receive a small grant to help them start their businesses in their home communities, helping with their reintegration.
Major Milestones Achieved:
• Formed 13 solidarity groups of 10 women each in 3 learning centers (3 in Goma, 8 in Kibumba and 2 in Ndosho);
• Trained 262 women on various vocational skills – 64 women in baking, 53 women in sewing, 12 in banana leaf art, 15 in paper bead making, 15 in flower pot making, 35 in tie dye, 75 in detergent making and 28 in gardening techniques;
• 12 community awareness training sessions about sexual and gender based violence and women’s rights and leadership were held, including 6 in Goma, 3 in Ndosho and 3 in Kibumba;
• 12 health, hygiene and family planning awareness sessions with 342 participants (fistula patients, survivors of sexual violence and other women with disabilities living in HEAL Africa transit houses) held;
• 30 women received business start-up materials and loans (through revolving loan program) after surgery and rehabilitation;
• 30 other women of solidarity groups received seed funding for businesses, to be repaid over 6 months at 2% interest;
• Regular supervision meetings by HEAL staff in all project locations (Goma, Ndosho and Kibumba) scheduled and implemented.
• Support an additional 13 women in receiving vocational skills training;
• Disburse materials and small seed loans to remaining women funded through the project;
• Complete monitoring and evaluation of graduates.
Recycled Water Gardens
In partnership with Tchad Solaire and KoZon, JWW was able to help women in the refugee camps stretch their limited supplies of water as far as possible. With the installation of inexpensive plastic sheeting and PVC pipes, women in refugee camps turned their family bathing areas into reservoirs for grey-water collection. The women were able to use the collected water to irrigate small vegetable patches, relying on their own skills to supplement their families’ meager food rations with essential nutrients. The vegetable patches provided a further source of income, as vegetables and seeds were sold at market. JWW completed installation of the grey water reclamation systems for the benefit of all families in the Iridimi and Touloum refugee camps in Chad.