Every day we work to strengthen the programs and resources for our colleagues on the frontline in eastern Congo. Panzi Hospital and Maison Dorcas are the epicenter for medical and holistic healing, education and vocational training, legal assistance and community reintegration in Bukavu.
Despite the ongoing political crisis and instability, our colleagues deliver best-in-class care and services. We stand with them in the fight against rape and sexualized violence.
Panzi's rural and mobile clinics serve thousands more families - often in even more vulnerable circumstances. One community we serve, Kavumu, has faced extreme violence - including the rape of more than 45 victims under the age of five years old - even infants and toddlers.
Our doctors and staff have worked tirelessly to treat their injuries and heal their bodies and souls. With the affected families, civil society leaders, and assistance from partners like Physicians for Human Rights, there is a criminal trial underway. This promise of justice is critical to community and family reintegration.
Approximately one hundred women are enrolled at our rural Maison Dorcas center in Kavumu. Programs include micro-finance of their small businesses, to agriculture/agri-business training, animal husbandry training, basket making, literacy and numeracy - everything you'd find at Maison Dorcas - and a farm.
Enrollees are a combination of survivors of sexual violence, fistula (obstetric and traumatic) survivors, women who are HIV positive, and other vulnerable women in the community. Each woman is also able to enroll two of her children (if her kids are a mix of genders, it must be at least one girl and one boy) in local schools through our program.
It is our hope the families and child rape survivors receive justice. For updates from the trial, please follow PHR's Susannah Sirkin and TRIAL on Twitter. We will make a full statement following the completion of the trial.
On this World Children's Day, our commitment to the children of Panzi is stronger than ever.