News / Africa

DRC’s Sister Angelique Helps Brutalized Women Heal

Sister Angelique Namaika with one of the displaced women she works with in Dungu, DRC, July 10, 2013. (Hilary Heuler for VOA)
Sister Angelique Namaika with one of the displaced women she works with in Dungu, DRC, July 10, 2013. (Hilary Heuler for VOA)
— A nun in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo has won one of the U.N.'s most prestigious awards for her work with displaced people and brutalized survivors of LRA attacks.  She has few resources at her disposal, but, Sister Angélique has helped thousands of displaced women.
 
Suzy was 14 when she was captured.  She did not want to use her real name, but says she was in school when the Lord’s Resistance Army invaded her village and dragged her into the forest, where she would spend the next year and a half in captivity.
 
“Life with the LRA was brutal,” she said. "I was given to a rebel soldier as a 'wife', and have been repeatedly beaten and raped. Food was scarce, they marched nearly every day and I was forced to help kill anyone who tried to escape."
 
The LRA crossed the border from Uganda into this remote corner of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008.  Since then, kidnapping stories like Suzy’s have been common, and hundreds of thousands of people displaced.
 
Suzy eventually escaped her captors after she had given birth to a child in the forest.  She made her way to the nearby town of Dungu, which was heaving with displaced people - most unemployed and desperate.
 
But there her luck changed.  She met Sister Angélique Namaika, a Congolese nun who runs an organization for displaced women, and she learned to make pastries.  Soon Suzy began selling them door to door, earning enough to support her young son and even go back to school.
 
"Women like Suzy need to be sought out by someone who can listen to their stories and help them heal.  When women are traumatized, the entire society is traumatized, because it is the women who are raising the next generation," said Sister Angélique.
 
Over the past four years Sister Angélique’s organization, the Center for Reinsertion and Development Support, or CRAD, has helped nearly 2,000 displaced women and girls in Dungu recover from their experiences and learn skills they can use to support themselves.

She runs classes on cooking, sewing, pastry making and literacy, as well as a community garden and a small orphanage.  In September, the United Nations gave Sister Angélique the Nansen Refugee Award for her work - one of the U.N.’s highest honors.
 
But, she says, it has not been easy, especially since CRAD has almost no funding.  Sister Angélique travels around town on an old bicycle, and the half-dozen orphans she supports share her own small, three-room mud house.  Three of the infants sleep in her own bed.
 
"Sometimes, I have to go door to door asking wealthy people and organizations for money.  But since funding is so uncertain, I also sells pastries, bread and produce to try to keep CRAD as self-sustaining as possible," she said.
 
The women she works with say the money they make helps them buy food and medicine for their children, and plan for the future.  But Pascaline, who lost two children to the LRA, says the group classes at CRAD provide more than just an income.
 
"Spending time with other displaced women makes them feel united and helps her forget the past. It is better to be together, sharing their joy in life," said Pascaline.
 
In 2009, Sister Angélique visited the United States to plead the cause of Congo’s displaced people, speaking before the U.S. Congress and the United Nations.  She says she hopes she can help bring the LRA to an end, so that the mothers of both Congo and Uganda can take their children back.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peter from: Lesotho
September 30, 2013 8:31 PM
Angelique is an amazing social worker/ humanitarian who needs, not only material and financial resources, but also a support system that can take her efforts to another level.


by: Alex Kalutha Lambert from: Cape town R.S.A
September 30, 2013 6:50 PM
The U.S.A have always been the world's Police! They brought so many powerful leaders to an end such - Slowbodan Milosevic; Saddam Hussein; Osama Bin Laden; Muammar Gaddafi ect... Each of whom was too strong than Joseph Kony. Why don't they act as such towards Kony and his L.R.S and have him brought to deserved end? Or is there any difference between the crime against humanity happening in Syria in which they put too much interest, and the one happening in D.R.C? If not, then why are they so quite about the Lawlessness taking place in Africa?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid