Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Congolese Sister is Sifa!

Mbote! (“Hello” in Congolese!)

Nge ke mbote? Mu ke mbote. (“How are you? I’m fine.”) Today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), people are still struggling after one of the deadliest wars in all history. Millions died and new conflicts threaten peace every day.

Perhaps worse than the loss of life is the staggering numbers of human rights violations – torture, mutilation and sexual violence that has occurred against tens of thousands of women and children.

For this reason, I sponsored a Congolese sister…

My Congolese sister is Sifa Cibaherwa Munganga. She was born in 1979 and she is married. She has six children: four girls and two boys. One of her children is deceased and only four of her children are school-aged and reside with her. Only two of her children are still in school.

Sifa considers herself to be an internally displaced person and a refugee. Because she does not have electricity, she uses cooking fires for light. She also does not have a source of water; as a result, her family uses a public standpipe.

Sifa completed primary school and is able to read and write. She is currently self-employed. A lack of skills, education and capital are some of the obstacles she feels she faces in regards to earning income.

Sifa believes she is in fair health and sometimes receives medical treatment when needed. Thankfully, she has not lost any family members from the war, violence, poverty, illness and political oppression that the Congolese have been experiencing for the past few years.

Through Women for Women International and I, Sifa hopes to gain vocational skills, improve her economic situation, become more active in her community and in family decision-making, gain more self-confidence, develop a friendship and support network and learn about her rights.

Enormous strides are being made in Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the work is far from done. Sifa is filled with hope that I will help her continue to rebuild her life. Hopefully, I will not only changing the course of Sifa’s life – but my support will help improve her entire village and community!

I am so excited and eager to get to know her better over the course of the next year. I just pray that throughout our interaction, God will bless her and her family with safety in a time of peril…

Bikala mbote! (“Goodbye” in Congolese!)

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