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03 March 2012

DR Congo: REMAK - Medical care and start-up aid for survivors of sexualised violence

Project sponsorship in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, South KivuIn 2001 in Kamituga, a community in the province of South Kivu, a group of mothers founded the first women’s organisation REMAK (Regroupement des Mamans de Kamituga). Their goal is to support survivors of sexualised violence with medical care and psychosocial counselling. In addition the organisation advocates the social reintegration of these women, who are often outcast and ostracised, mediates between women rape victims, their husbands, and their families, and provides them with income-generating means in order to raise their self-esteem and their status in their families and communities.

To this end, REMAK works closely with local health posts, covering the treatment expenses for women rape victims with no financial means, and accompanying them with psychosocial support. In order to give the women a chance to talk confidentially about the violence that they experienced, REMAK rents its own consultation rooms, either in the health centres or outside them.

Thanks to support from medica mondiale, it has been possible to provide medical care and psychosocial counselling to some 270 survivors of sexualised violence in the towns of Kasika, Kamituga, Kitutu, and Mwenga. In order to provide the women with a means for supporting themselves after their recovery, REMAK offered them training programs and start-up aid. Some women are taught baking skills, others learn how to cultivate sugarcane and are provided with cuttings. Further recipients of medical and supportive care are given goats, guinea pigs, and ducks to help them start small businesses with animals and animal products. Ducks are in high demand in the DR Congo, since they are very hardy and reproduce rapidly compared to chickens. The women can get as much as 7 US dollars for a duckling on the local markets. There is also a high demand for duck eggs, which are otherwise imported at high prices from Uganda and Burundi.

Young women and girls who suffered sexualised violence frequently find it especially difficult to rebuild their lives and deal with their traumatic experiences. An orderly living environment is of paramount importance in dealing with traumatising violence. Hence REMAK pays tuition fees for girls. 62 girls were able to attend school on a regular basis again thanks to medica mondiale‘s sponsorship of the project.

medica mondiale has provided REMAK with 30,000 euro in sponsorship funds within four years from 2008 to 2011.