August 19, 2019
By Thiago Macedo
Sarah is a strong, proud and independent woman living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She runs a business and owns a small house, but her success belies a horrific past. Those who meet her cannot believe the adversities she has experienced.
Sarah is a survivor. When a group of armed men broke into her village, they massacred her entire family and raped her. Then they took her into a forest and abused and violated her for days until she lost consciousness. When she arrived at the hospital the doctors thought she would not survive. Thanks to the efforts of Panzi Hospital and its Maison Dorcas, Sarah is alive today.
The Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo was founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his work in helping victims of gender-based violence recover. At Maison Dorcas, women like Sarah are empowered to find their voice and learn new skills. Sarah was given medical care, psychological counselling and healing to reintegrate into society. She was also given a small grant rebuild her life.
Violence against women remains the most cruel and evident manifestation of gender inequality in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This violence is not only perpetrated by armed groups and rebel factions, but also by civilians. Unfortunately women survivors of sexual violence are often reluctant to report these crimes, out of both fear and shame.
How you can help
In order to support women in the DRC thrive and live with dignity, PWRDF is designating Panzi Hospital and Maison Dorcas as its beneficiary for the 2019 Ride for Refuge.
The Ride for Refuge is a family-friendly cycling and walking fundraiser that supports charities providing refuge and hope for displaced, vulnerable and exploited people. The 2019 Ride for Refuge takes place on Saturday, October 5, 2019, in cities across Canada, or you can organize your own ride/walk on a day of your choice. Our goal is to raise $30,000 that will be directed to the Panzi Hospital to help women like Sarah. You can register to ride as a team captain or a participant. It can be a walk, a rollerblade, or pedal power of your choosing.
To register for the ride, please visit the PWRDF page at rideforrefuge.org/charity/pwrdf. If you have questions contact PWRDF’s Donor Relations Officer Mike Ziemerink. If you can’t ride yourself, but want to support PWRDF, click our Ride for Refuge page, scroll down to the PWRDF team you’d like to support and make your donation. Thank you for your support!
You can also download this Ride for Refuge poster to share in your community!