What we do for Survivors?
Helping Hand for survivors believe that a survivor is not only a victim of rape or sexual violence, but anyone regarded as strong or courageous enough to be able to overcome hardship, misfortune or any type of life other people enjoy freely, that one cannot live due to something that happened and now preventing a person to live a free life. This can be caused by war/conflict, insecurity, sexual violence, domestic violence, extreme poverty etc. Brief, a survivor will be someone who endures through hardship or disaster. Being that said, it has been so hard for many Congolese women to talk about these issues. Helping Hand for Survivors is opening it floor for those who wish and willing to be free of trauma. This is an educational movement to allow women and men to talk and act towards the end of the stigma that is causing death due to hunger, disease and suicide.
Even though women are still vulnerable to harm, including sexual assault or rape in the DRC. Helping Hand for Survivors provides spiritual education to help them with trauma as well as teaching them how to care for their unwanted children from rape. What they need lifesaving supplies such as shelter, food, clothing, sandals, soaps, lotions, towels, and basic toiletries. The lives of women, survivors of sexual assault and rape, become nonexistent (unbearable) in their villages. They are shunned by their families and neighbors and forced to flee their home. HHS negotiates places/housing for these women in safe locations where they can stay with their children until they can be self-reliant. $20(US)/month provides housing in a safe place for one woman who has lost everything when rejected by her own family after being raped.
Trauma Prevention through Education
At Helping Hand for Survivors, we are committed to reduce the prevalence and incidence of people who has experienced sexual violence, stigmatization, or Kwashiorkor, which is a severe sort of malnutrition, caused by a deficiency in dietary protein and is killing children under the age of five year. One way we work towards this goal is through education in the villages and nearby cities. We are based on educational prevention that stand on these beliefs:
- Most people want to keep others safe, but they don’t know always how to go about.
- Most people are not violent and don’t want the people in their life to get harmed or hurt.
- Most violence and precursors to violence take place in the presence of witnesses.
We believe that a few people who cares can truly change the world and we, at Helping Hand for survivors want to be among those few people who can bring about change in the world through protection, education and health. Throughout these programs, we want to encourage people to identify personal boundaries/ limits in various relationships and what to do if a boundary violation occurs. Young people also become aware of their role as a witness or passerby and how to safely intervene among their peers when violence happens.
A key module of this changing boundaries are Churches and schools. Schools mapping exercise through which students can anonymously identify areas at school where they feel safe, unsafe or ambiguous about. After the results are collected, they can be presented to the school administration to make necessary changes to keep everyone safe at school. These shifting boundaries can significantly reduce physical violence among society. At Helping Hand for survivors there should be no logical reason why, we, as a community should have to accept any type of violence as a norm. There are ways to show your commitment in ending violence in your community no matter who you are or your life stage. We all have an obligation to make our communities safe, so we welcome you to this movement.