Getting women online
Getting women together is a powerful act. When women share and exchange their stories, they start to feel the value of their own lives and the lives of women like them.
STARTED IN: 2012 ANNUAL MEMBER VISITS: 5,000 WOMEN EMPLOYED: 7
The reality for women in DR Congo is in many ways quite grim. More than anything else, at the root of the mistreatment of women is a pervasive view that women are not intrinsically valuable, that their only worth is in the children they bear and the housework they accomplish. Says our founder, Neema Namadamu:
"That is the way it is for girls born in Congo. Every day it is emphasized that you are only a girl. You can't sit where the men are gathered. You can't speak when they are talking. And if you are violated by one of them, they will handle the matter amongst themselves - a gift for your father and the debt is cleared. So she is married off at 14 or 15 years in trade for two cows, then raped every day until she's borne many sons. If she bears only daughters, then her husband will take another wife. If she dies, no problem; for two more cows another wife can be bought."
When a woman has lived immersed in this reality since birth, and when all the women around her are steeped in the same reality, it is easy for her to believe that she has no right to agency. That her thoughts and ideas are unimportant; and besides, that they will never find any meaningful outlet.
In Congo there are not many roads. Women from different areas don't have the opportunity to get together and exchange; to experience the universality of their situation; and to brainstorm creative solutions with sisters from outside their immediate vicinity.
We currently operate two Hero Women Media Centers in East Congo: one in the city of Bukavu, capital of South Kivu province, and the other in the remote Itombwe sector. We teach basic computer and internet literacy skills, and help women to access forums like World Pulse, where they can share their stories with women all over the world. We give advocacy and entrepreneurial training, and free internet to promote their causes and work.
The Centers are a gathering place for women. They are a vehicle to empower women simply by enabling them to realize all the potential inherent within them. The transformation they undergo is profound. Confidence, self-esteem,and curiosity blossom in them. They become part of a global sisterhood : a crucible for inspiration and change.
Neema says, "It is not so much about "what we are doing," but about how what we are doing is impacting the minds of Congolese women and girls about themselves, their significance, and their potential - as well as changing the minds of Congolese men regarding the capacity and potential inherent in Congolese women, and the role women must play to right-side-up our world."
seeds of change
Section under construction - more coming soon!