Thanks to everyone who has generously donated money. We have been able to send $3,500 (£2236.89) from the donation fund on the 21st of December. This has enabled Masika to continue with her work.
- Now you can donate to Masika’s fund via PayPal
- For information in French we have set up MasikaRebecafr.wordpress.com
Because of the M23 rebellion, led by indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, there have been many more people coming to the centre. Click here to read more about what happened in November.
After Goma and Sake were ransacked by the M23 militia, Masika’s centre was looted by Congolese Army soldiers (FARDC) who stole many of the women’s possessions such as clothes and sewing machines.On 22nd November, some FARDC soldiers went on the rampage around Minova looting and raping women. It is thought around 80 women and children were raped over several days and these incidents are now being investigated by the UN.
Because of the events during and after the November 2012 rebellion, there is a desperate need for funding to replenish the centre’s supply of basic items: mattresses, bed covers, blankets, clothes, kitchen utensils, etc. They are also struggling to afford to renew the rent for a field where they grow crops. Masika is looking for any additional means to support the 180 women who are working in the community farms, many of whom are in need of new roofs for their houses.
Most importantly, and tragic to report, more women have come to Masika for help, who were raped during the rebellion.
One of the new arrivals at the centre is fourteen year old Malena who was first kidnapped and raped by FDLR soldiers on her way back from school. She was then raped again during the rebellion. Read her story here.
Any money donated will go towards the emergency fund as well as basic running costs, school fees and medical expenses. Your generosity will also help with new projects such as building an office where Masika works and takes case histories of recent arrivals; a brand new dormitory so people have a proper place to sleep and a sewing workshop which is being set up to train people so that they have a self sustaining skill. Masika would also like to start a literacy programme for the women.
Please keep giving generously to support survivors of rape and sexual violence in order to give them hope to start a new life.
Faida, 18, is an orphan and an outcast. She was rejected and chased out of her community after she was raped by three uniformed men outside Biralo village. She now lives at the centre with Masika who has taken her in as one of her own.
After the assault, Faida was so badly hurt that she couldn’t get home by herself. She had to wait for help and eventually somebody took her to a local health clinic. They couldn’t provide the treatment she needed and so she was taken to hospital.
She was living with her uncle after both her parents had died but after the assault he kicked her out saying he couldn’t live with a girl who had been raped by unidentified people. Faida didn’t have anywhere to go and experienced heart-breaking hostility from her community.
She was taken to the centre and is very grateful for the warm welcome and support she receives from Masika. She says: “Mama Masika is now my father and my mother and is struggling for us so we can survive.”
Malena, aged 14, arrived at Masika’s centre after the rebellion in November 2012. She had been raped by FDLR men earlier in the year and was brought to the centre by a village chief. However she was then raped again, this time by Congolese government soldiers during the days when soldiers from the Congolese army went on the rampage looting and raping civilians in the Minova area. She is now fearful for her future, unsure whether or not she can finish her studies.
This is her story.
My home was Ufamando, Walikale territory where I was studying at secondary school and selling peanuts after class. One day I heard gun shots close by and I saw some FDLR people coming towards me. I tried to run, but it was less than three minutes before they caught me and took me in the forest where I found three other girls. There in the forest we were raped and became their property. A few days later they killed the other girls. I managed to escape following the fight between the FDLR and the Raiya Mutomboki, and met a man who rescued me. I was unwell and uncomfortable there, so in November 20th, the chief decided to take me to Mama Masika. She took me to the hospital and kept me in the centre. On 22nd, I was raped again at the centre by a group of government soldiers who withdrew from Goma when the town and Sake were controlled by M23 militias. Since all of us were in danger and at risk, Mama Masika took us all and led us away to another village nearby that was safer.
When we could go back it was sad to find nothing in the centre as everything was taken away by the soldiers. This situation makes life more difficult than before and we don’t know what to do. Although Mama Masika is doing her best to find a way. I am so frightened because I cannot go to school now and continue with my studies.
I spoke to Masika on Saturday 24th November, 2012. The news was not good. She told me she was hiding “en brusse” with 27 women and 48 children.
On November 20th, the rebel movement, the M23, led by ICC indicted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda took Goma. The Congolese army, the FARDC seemed to melt away, there was virtually no resistance and MONUSCO, the largest and most expensive UN force in the world, stood by and did nothing. It seemed obvious that the M23 would make a move west, down the main supply line from Goma out to Sake. This town has large numbers of FARDC troops as well as MONUSCO peacekeepers. It is also not far from Minova, which is the next town on the road towards Bukavu, the regional capital of South Kivu, and close to where Masika is based.
On Thursday the M23 moved to take Sake, which is a garrison town with FARDC troops as well as a MONUSCO contingent. There was fighting and once again, after so many years of war, the civilian people had to run for their lives, leaving everything behind. Sake was reported as being a ghost town. One man came back to try and find his children, who had been separated from him in the chaos. About 30 minutes down the road is Minova. A market town and not far from Masika’s centre.
The Congolese army, the FARDC has been on the rampage in Minova. They ransacked the centre, taking mattresses, sewing machines (generously donated this year) and took all the clothes. More importantly, and tragic to report, more women have been raped. Masika has 11 new rape survivors with her. She managed to get to the local hospital, where one of the women was so badly injured, Masika was not sure if she would survive.
She told me ” I am frightened for tomorrow”
Since then Masika has been able to leave this area with the children. She is safe for now.
Please don’t forget Masika and all the people she is helping. They need your help right now. More than ever.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS SO FAR.
PLEASE KEEP GIVING, THE NEED IS GREATER THAN EVER.
Things have been going well at Masika’s centre overall, but the first week of September has been difficult. The centre was attacked by armed men, who were most likely soldiers, although it’s not clear from which army or militia. They seemed to be looking for Masika in particular. Thankfully they didn’t find her, but they looted the centre and tragically one of her neighbours was killed during the attack. Masika is now in Goma for a few days and arrangements have been made to help protect her. A second guard is going to be hired at the centre. Masika is strong as always and seems to be handling the situation with her remarkable resilience and courage.
M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been accused of rape, the deliberate targeting of civilians and the execution of recruits trying to escape rebel ranks.
One of the leaders of the M23 group includes indicted war criminal General Bosco Ntaganda who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.
By mid May, just one month after the start of the M23 rebellion, Masika had already received 54 new cases. This is more than double the number of people she normally receives at the centre.
Desanges arrived at Masika’s centre four years ago. She is eighteen and is now in her last year at secondary school. She wants to go to university to study law. She was 14 when she was taken captive and raped. This is her story.
My father, who was a local chief in my village, was burned alive. My mother was raped. I was with my younger sister. We cried when they were raping our mother. They killed her and took us and all our things away.
My younger sister and I were separated. I’ve never found out what happened to her.
We spent about a week walking through forests and arrived at an FDLR camp. I spent seven months with militia. We were their puppets. They insulted us. Each night they’d go from one girl to another.
I asked a woman there if this would be our life, and if we should do something. So we waited until they went to work and we escaped. We spent two weeks walking, just eating fruit. When we got to a stream we had to eat sand until we reached the road.
Our feet were swollen for two days after we arrived. The woman was so badly affected that she died.
I was pregnant and I didn’t know what to do. I saw Masika in the village and I told her my story. She was very shocked and brought me here.
I wanted to kill myself. My mind was made up, but Masika gave me advice. I had no clothes, so she gave me some. She took me to a health centre for treatment. When I gave birth she brought clothes for me and the baby. Afterwards, she asked me what I dreamed of being. I didn’t know, but she said she would send me to school.
Once, Masika went to my home village to negotiate with my relatives my return. But they said no, and asked why should we keep her? They said I would have to kill my child. I saw him as an obstacle to reuniting my family. They were sorry, but said girls are expensive, and that if I was a boy it would have been better.
I always feel sad that my child asks who his father is, and instead of replying I just weep.
I never dream. I can’t stop thinking of my parents. Life is nothing for this. Everybody points at you. I find that rape causes “deception”. Because of rape you can miss many things. I think that if I got my diploma no-one would employ me because I’ve been raped.
I feel really very sad. If mama Masika dies what will happen to us? I think about this everyday. Where would we go? I’ve never told her this before. I speak to her about my life, I don’t know what will become of it. The problem is, people around us don’t like us and think we were raped because we wanted it.