Democratic Republic of the Congo: joint aid together with new partner

by Stefanie Huisgen,  2012/05/29

Being the third largest state of the African continent, the Democratic Republic of the Congo disposes of plenty of natural resources. Nevertheless, the population lives in abject poverty and the richness in resources has so far not been of advantage to the state. Quite the contrary: due to colonisation, exploitation and wars, the DR Congo has tumbled into a devastating chaos which is still prevailing in large parts of the country – and which renders humanitarian relief missions almost unfeasible due to the unstable security situation.

Last week, the chairwoman of the UPDC, Jeanne-Marie Sindani (left) visited humedica employee Andrea Trautmann in her office in Kaufbeuren, in order to coordinate the two organisations’ joint shipment of relief supplies to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: humedica/Stefanie Huisgen

Above all in the eastern provinces there are numerous trouble spots and armed conflicts between various rebel groups and the government troops who are supported by the United Nations. One of these affected regions is South Kivu. Only a small stretch of land separates Congolese terrain from the neighbour country Rwanda – and the provincial capital Bukavu is located right at one end of this stretch of land.

According to recent statements of the Federal Foreign Office, Bukavu has so far been spared from armed conflicts. But nevertheless, the city with its 450,000 inhabitants is located in a region that is particularly marked by fights, and political and social instability.

Therefore, it is the welfare of exactly this city’s inhabitants, which is the focus of humedica and its new partner. The non-profit organisation UPDC e.V. (L'Union des Patriotes de la Diaspora Congolaise) has been supporting needy people in the DR Congo for four years. The chairwoman of the UPDC, the native Congolese Jeanne-Marie Sindani, is particularly touched by the fate of women who became victims of sexual violence.

It is terrible to see what crimes people are capable of”, tells Sindani during her visit at the humedica headquarters in Kaufbeuren, referring to the mass rape of women and girls by soldiers from the countries adjoining the DR Congo, in particular from Rwanda. “I wonder what is going on in the minds of these people, who cause women and children such suffering.

Sindani has been living in the Bavarian town of Fürstenfeldbruck, near Munich, since 1988 and her objective is to help people in the Congo in the long term. For this purpose she founded an organisation in 2009. Currently, her efforts are focussed on two hospitals in Bukavu, among them the globally renowned Panzi Hospital, which was named after the borough it was established in. At this hospital, well-trained local doctors are specialised in the treatment of victims of sexual violence.

Within the past 15 years, more than 2.5 million of women and children became victims of sexual violence, according to the statement UPDC has published on their homepage. Supported by humedica, UPDC intends to supply them with necessary relief goods, such as hospital beds, wound dressing materials, surgery kits and also walking aids. As a consequence of the brutality and violence of the assaults they suffered, numerous of the victims are injured so seriously that they can only walk with assistance – if they are able to walk at all.

During the past few years, more than 25,000 women who became victims of sexual assaults were treated at the Panzi Hospital. Today the hospital is well-known not least because of numerous visits by celebrities (George Clooney, Charlize Theron). Photo: Jeanne-Marie Sindani

Our aid measures are a drop in the ocean”, says Sindani, “but we can achieve a lot even by means of a little contribution." As soon as the required material will have arrived, a 40 foot container will be sent to the two hospitals in Bukavo. Also last year UPDC supported a hospital in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa by way of supplying them with relief goods.

Unfortunately, the problematic security situation in the country does not allow us to send humedica doctor teams to the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But nevertheless, you, dear friends and sponsors, can make a purposeful donation for our field of relief supplies, in order to ensure that the two Congolese hospitals will receive the necessary equipment for treating the victims of sexual violence. Thank you very much.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Relief supply
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      SWIFT/BIC-CODE: BYLADEM1KFB
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

In the framework of the prison relief missions, which humedica organises on a regular basis together with our partner PFI (Prison Fellowship International), doctors, in particular dentists, and nurses are urgently wanted for a mission in the south of the DR Congo from September 15 to 30, 2012! If you are interested, please contact Ms Petra Berwanger, tel.: +49 (0)8341 966 148 43 or p.berwanger@humedica.org.

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