COFAPRI women pose for a photo with local leaders after they were awarded their certificates. The women had been learning basics in reading and writing in order to improve their sewing and small business activities. Here we are in Katana, in March 2017
Nyangezi, D.R. Congo: City of Peace
We welcome Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile and the citizens of Nyangezi who have established their community as an International City of Peace. Mugisho formed the organization Congolese Females Action or Promoting Rights and Development (COFAPRI) in Bukavu to help women and children traumatized by violence and to give hope for the future.
Note: Introduction page with information primarily at the time of joining International Cities of Peace. For updates, please contact the liaison.
At Ngomo Primary School, in Munya village. COFAPRI supplies children with school materials at the beginning of each school year. Here it was in September 2017.
ABOUT NYANGEZI, FROM MUGISHO
“In my community, people used to live peacefully on their land. Since the advent of war in 1996, peace became fragile in the country, as women and girls, as well as children were being raped. This has broken the hearts of the people, and the wars damaged the environment as well. Based on such atrocities, we decided to set up a way of helping these victims.
“It is in this line that Congolese Females Action for Promoting Rights and Development COFAPR has been helping the victims of the unending wars to remake their lives through income generating activities and education. The involvement of the women in income generating activities and helping the children to get school education is relieving the moral wounds the victims have been suffering. Being raped and becoming its victim yet one is poor, it kills twice the person.
“With no peace in the country, no peace in the mind of the people, there cannot be any development at all. For everything to be effective, peace is really needed.”
COFAPRI women involved in sewing get their certificates after a six-month program of learning sewing. Here we are at Munya village, on March 8, 2018
Congolese Females Action for Promoting Rights and Development COFAPRI_ is a women’s grassroots organization that is located in Bukavu, the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC. The organization was created on November 24, 2009 in order to help the women and the children in the villages of the DR Congo. These women and children had been suffering a lot due to unending wars the country had been going through for a long period.
The organization is empowering these rural women and children victims of rape and domestic discrimination in the villages of the DRC. The women had been raped and some of them got unwanted pregnancies that delivered fatherless children. These children are considered as social cast as they were born to the enemy. So, both the mother and the child have been suffering the same way.
Furthermore, the organization is helping other village women and children from destitute families. The women are involved in different income generating activities, such as sewing, cultivation, animal rearing and small business. The women also take a reading and writing skill program that will enormously help them conduct their small business and do well the sewing practice. The organization also has a plan of building a farm in each village that is covered and that is where all the animals can be kept.
This said, the children, mostly girls, are helped to enroll in a local school, and from there COFAPRI brings them fees and school equipment in the form of support. In addition to this support, COFAPRI has a plan of building a school where all these children, with many others from poor families and also in the school’s vicinity, will be studying. This school year 2017-2018, COFAPRI is bringing assistance to the school education of 175 children (mostly girls) from different villages. All these children we sponsor are not from the same village and are not registered in the same school; they are scattered in different local schools.
In order to better support the children, COFAPRI brings them school materials as well as other needed items in order to allow them feel comfortable with education and so forget the hardship of discrimination they go through in their families and communities.
Visiting the women and the girls at their sewing centre in Munya village in order to discuss challenges they meet during their learning process
To empower village women survivors of war rape and those from destitute families through income generating activities and the children survivors to have access to school education in order to build their future, that of their families and communities in successful way. So the women and their children become well equipped and distinguished for transforming their lives, those of their communities and their countries in the near future.
COFAPRI involves women and girls in small business. Here we are in Katana as Mugisho, COFAPRI Executive Director was visiting the women at their selling point. This was in January 2018
COFAPRI’s activities look at lifting women and girls/children victims of rape and domestic discrimination, or women and girls, as well as children from destitute families. We help women and girls to learn relevant skills and the right attitude to meet the needs of a global community where women are economically self-dependent, and where children are supported to have access to full formal education. Through helpful activities that generate an income and having access to school education, we create opportunities and support women and children to acquire helpful skills.
Mugisho, Co-founder and Executive Director of COFAPRI visits the women in Luhihi village.
Within our local contexts, we work directly with local people and leaders to build strong connections that can lead to self-dependence for the women. We strive to expand COFAPRI both directly – through reaching out to more villages, and provinces and indirectly – through documenting and sharing our experiences of instilling the learning. We do all of this to increase access to life skills for the women and access to education for the children.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- Addressing domestic violence toward women and children in the villages of the DR Congo.
- Empowering village women and children survivors of war rape and domestic discrimination by making them regain their hope.
- Involving women and girls in various income generating activities, such as sewing, knitting, animal rearing, small business and cultivation.
- Helping the children to have full access to school education in their villages. Here we help them register in a local school, and from there we bring them support of school materials and fees.
COFAPRI founders often visit the women in the villages in order to exchange with them how to better empower them. The women are always eager and happy to meet COFAPRI representatives. Here we are in Kabamba village.
ABOUT THE LIAISON
Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile is DR Congo citizen. He attended primary and secondary school at a local Marist Brothers’ school, Institut Weza, in Nyangezi where he got a Degree in General Education in 1990. The same year, he registered at ISP-Bukavu College, where in 1997, he got a Bachelor Degree in General Education applied to teaching the English Language. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies, from the University of KwaZulu Natal-UKZN South Africa. Currently he is pursuing a PhD program in Gender and Development in the same university. He has ample experience in teaching, and today he is teaching at the American University Program Kepler, in Kigali-Rwanda. Mugisho is also a prolific writer; he has produced number of published scientific articles and blogs, as well as books. Most of his books deal with women issues.
Mugisho N Theophile, Co-founder and Executive Director of COFAPRI.
Mugisho found the nest of his love, Bahati Valerie, and united for life on January 27, 2001. Today, they are wonderful family blessed with three cute children; two daughters and a son. This is an incredible couple whose commitment toward helping women and children victims of rape and domestic violence and those who are discriminated in the remote rural villages of the DR Congo remains greatly unimaginable. They are doing so through an amazing local organization, COFAPRI www.cofapri.org that they cofounded in 2009. Although they have relocated in Rwanda because of the unending wars that are damaging human, and mostly women and girls lives via rape, Mugisho often crosses the borders to visit the women and children they are empowering in this worst country to be called a woman.
Letter of Intent
Mugisho says “my heart is bleeding. It has been broken as human and environment peace is being trespassed willingly by heartless and selfish interests ruled people. Peace and social harmony overlap for they are key to human development, and hurting the woman and her child is to prick the heart of the world.”
Mugisho Ndabuli Theophile
ABOUT NYANGEZI, D.R. CONGO (from Wikipedia)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, DRC, the former Belgian Congo, East Congo, Congo-Kinshasa or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. The country was known as Zaire between 1971 and 1997. The DRC borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east; Zambia to the south; Angola to the southwest; and the Republic of the Congo and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the second-largest country in Africa (largest in Sub-Saharan Africa) by area and 11th largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth most-populated nation in Africa, and the 17th most populated country in the world.
Bukavu, the closes large town to Nyangezi, is a city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), lying at the extreme south-western edge of Lake Kivu, west of Cyangugu in Rwanda, and separated from it by the outlet of the Ruzizi River. It is the capital of the South Kivu province and as of 2012 it had an estimated population of 806,940. The current Governor of Bukavu is Claude Nyamugabo, elected on 29 October 2017.
Bukavu is part of the ancient territory of Bushi Kingdom, the main ethnic group of South-Kivu. It was governed by a “Muluzi” Nyalukemba, when the first Arabs, then the European arrived in Bushi at the end of the 19th century. (“Muluzi” or “Baluzi” in the plural means « the nobleman or nobility to Shi. It is equivalent to Watutsi or Tutsi in Kinyarwanda. Before the Europeans came in Bushi Kingdom, Bukavu was called “Rusozi”. The name Bukavu comes from the transformation of word ‘bu ‘nkafu ‘ (farm of cows) in Mashi, the language of Bashi.
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