As a result of our StartSomeGood campaign and the generous donations from many in our dance community we almost reached our target of $15,000 to start a Sister Sewing Studio. This project aims to help even more Congolese women, particularly those who have been victims of gender based violence and systematic rape. With the monies raised we rented a small building in the town of Sake in December 2015 and kitted it out with manual/foot operated sewing machines, tables, scissors and haberdashery items. We employed a night security guard and experienced seamstress but we do still need to raise further funds to help the workshop become sustainable. Even more so now during the current political instability and ever increasing dollar exchange rate which is making life harder and harder plunging our women into deeper poverty. It is incredibly difficult as people do live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 per day, plus there is the continuing fear of rape and kidnap by the rebel militia hiding out in the nearby hills only a few kilometres away.
Insecurity has blighted life for many women in Sake, including some of the women employed in our sewing workshop who have been raped by soldiers.
One of them is Esperance, aged 24 and a mother of four children. She was dragged into bushes when searching for firewood for her family and then violated by armed men. We have been told her suffering was cruel and degrading and afterwards she needed medical and psychological treatment.
Since then she has learned how to sew and now, thanks to our dance community, she is equipped with a sewing machine and can earn money to provide for her family.
Esperance is not the only women in the ATS® workshop to have suffered but together they now have hope and opportunity thanks to our community.
If you are able to donate or can raise funds by organising a haflah, raffle or fund raising event then you can not believe how appreciative our women are for your support. Whatever you can donate will be really appreciated – just slide the donation button below until it gets to the amount you’d like to donate.
Both of our Sister to Sister projects are looked after by Ensemble Pour La Différence a registered UK charity (No: 1174074) and our team on the ground in Congo
Very many thanks for your support