Solidarity for the Future: "Ending Violence Against Children and Rape Against Women."
The ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to claim countless lives each year and leaves many more displaced. Acts of sexual violence against Congolese women and children combined with acts of terror haunt and destroy communities. Shalupe Foundation is involved in the heart of this matter and is directly involved in helping victims of the war regain control of their lives. In addition to the direct services to provide, we engage in targetted advocacy to address the issues and stimulate a powerful women’s movement to fight against oppression and to promote education.
It is a continuous struggle to introduce the message of empowerment into the communities. Our advocacy message is centered on teaching the communities that make up the DRC about the impact that war, gender inequality, and rape have on the communities of the DRC. This course serves two purposes: it is a catalytic educational tool and it helps us develop strategies that mobilize consumer activists. It also delivers the message to affected women and DRC communities at large. Through this course, we equip women with gender-based training tools, resources, planning skills, and models of implementation, which allow us to efficiently advocate for our constituents right in the Congo.
Additionally, we work to inform decision makers in government, private, and nonprofit sectors, on the importance of formulating prudent and timely policies in the Congo. Beyond the community level, our advocacy efforts focus on media outlets, educating consumer activists, and penetrating the leadership in the DRC as we work to bring attention to the social, economic, and political challenges faced by the victims of this war.
In 2012, Shalupe Foundation gained Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This, coupled with our dedicated humanitarian work on the ground, have made Shalupe a respected voice amongst those advocating for peace in the DRC both in the United States and around the world.
Addressing Social, Economic and Political Disparities for Women in DRC.
Based on a four concept agenda – understanding the vulnerable positions of women in a masculine culture, the importance of dignified women’s rights, poverty alleviation pipeline, and women’s roles in politics and the economy - Shalupe aims to strategically transform cyclical oppression of women and young girls through the creations of a lasting societal and political change from local involvement. All activities combined will deepen community connections and build an infrastructure for long term sustainability.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is often called “the rape capital of the world”, and is infamous for the widespread, systematic violence against women that occurs within its borders. Beyond the initial trauma of rape, survivors suffer serious consequences that often persist for the rest of their lives. These include unwanted pregnancies, post-traumatic stress disorder, and infection with HIV. Furthermore, the stigma against rape victims causes many to feel ashamed and isolated, rejected by friends and family at a time when they need support the most.
At Shalupe, we hold a conviction that no survivor should be stigmatized for what she has been forced to suffer. Further, with an estimated 400,000 rape survivors living in the country, we believe that she should not feel isolated either. Shalupe Foundation brings together survivors in Kivu, Bukavu, and Kisangani to support one another through our group therapy sessions and other initiatives.
The support we give to survivors of rape and sexual violence falls into three categories: medical treatment; counseling and support; and education and skills training. Further, we visit local shelters to provide workshops and sensitization about sexual violence so that those interacting with survivors know how to treat them with dignity, sensitivity, and respect. This two-pronged approach allows us to provide holistic physical and psychosocial assistance to survivors while also helping reduce the stigma against victims. In doing so we empower survivors to move past their ordeals and to find joy and dignity once again.