African Great Lakes – April 2019

Friends Women’s Association: Rape Survivors Support (RSS) March Report 

A three-day trauma healing workshop was done on March 22nd – 24th 2019 for on Gender Based Violence Victims.

Testimony

“My name is Alice. I’m 19 years old. My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old. One day at night, my father wanted to rape me. He brought me in his bedroom and unclothed me. I felt so afraid that I told him that I wanted to go to the toilet. He didn’t accept, and we went together to the toilet. He came with a machete. When, he opened the door of our house, I ran away. He ran after me, but he failed to catch me. Then, I went to live with my aunt. Later, I became a house girl. My boss raped me. He was put in jail. And because his wife was afraid, she gave me BIF300,000 so that her husband can be released. After few days, I lost my job. As my father was continuing to threaten me, I left the countryside and came here in Bujumbura. I got married. When I got a baby, my husband married another wife. As I had anywhere to go, I remained in the house. This means that we were two wives in the same house. My husband was always beating me until I left him. Now, I’m trying to survive together with my child. Thanks a lot for this workshop because I got this opportunity to share my sad story.”

Participants who have such sad stories are always encouraged to join the self-help groups so that they can have their own financial income. However, the main challenge for such cases is how to start saving what they don’t have because most of them are very poor.

At the end of March 2019, 38 self-help groups were functioning. 

There was a meeting with the self-help groups’ representatives where 31 groups were represented. The main recommendation was to find for them microfinance where they can have access to microloans. They also expressed their wish to have a common project for their socio-economic life improvement.