Partnering for Peace

by Brittney Howell

Partnership: Great Lakes Peace Foundation – the Democratic Republic of the Congo

History: From the perspective of our partner’s eyes

The war situation in DR Congo since 1996 has plunged the country into a multifaceted state of crisis due to the horrors of human rights violence and massive destruction of socio-economic infrastructure as well as the displacement of the population to the bush.

After the Congo’s independence from Belgium, three important political parties promoted hatred between tribes. The Banyamulenge from Rwanda were the richest tribe installed in Minembwe in its High Plateaux. They have been causing various crimes such as murders, destroying villages by fires, killing off cattle (around 300,000), and infrastructures like schools and health centers were also destroyed. All of this is due to the Banyamulenge’s power. Since 2017 they have been chased out of the areas of Minembwe and Bwegera.

A lot of survivors have been displaced to concentration camps. The area has been devastated by guerrillas and by the eruptions of the Nyiragongo volcano and the population needs urgent assistance with food, health, and schools.

In addition to all the above-mentioned abuses in the East of the DR Congo, there is malnourishment widespread, especially in the territories of Uvira and Fizi in particular. This, unfortunately, includes women and children so they need as much help as possible.

With the Usana Foundation’s assistance, we were able to provide 1000 families in the areas of Minembwe and Bwegera with the meals they needed.

Story Time

“On behalf of the Great Lakes Peace Foundation, I want to thank you for your thoughtful donation to our organization and for supporting the efforts to assist the humanitarian aid to the population in the Great Lakes Region. 

Thanks to the USANA foundation we will continue to provide food assistance to families and victims of conflicts in the area. I will confirm when we receive the deposit. 

During my trip to Congo, I met people with various health (physical and mental) and financial problems. I met with widows in Bwegera and Minembwe and have spent time with them discussing the current conditions they are in. In total, we encountered 217 families of which consisting of 4,532 individuals.

The story I am sharing is about Maman Namahoro Munyiginya, a widow that lost her husband in the recent conflicts perpetrated by the Mai Mai militias in the Haut Plateau region. She survived with 6 children (4 girls and 2 boys) and lives in shelters along with so many other families.

Her husband and many other males died when trying to defend them from the militias. She was very emotional and was in tears when I was talking to her. She told the story of how they were attacked at night by militia groups and had to evacuate their village leaving their homes, farms, clothes, and cattle. They slept in the forest for 2 days without shelter and food before reaching the next rural area (Bwegera). 

“Receiving food assistance is a miracle from God… food will be able to reunite [my family] again.”

Grateful to have found this partnership!

She stated that they are in need of more assistance but receiving food assistance is a miracle from God. After fleeing, she doesn’t remember when she sat down with all of her kids present for dinner but food will be able to reunite them at night for dinner again. Before receiving the assistance, some of her kids used to go eat at their neighbors due to lack of enough food.

For the next 2 months, they are very hopeful that they will continue to receive more assistance including clothes and other basic needs. She was very thankful and asked us to continue to pray for them and assist them in any way we can. She was worried about her children not starting school soon. Namahoro pleaded that we continue to think about them in our prayers and actions. Their homes were burned down and destroyed by the militias. Her hope is to find a place that she can call home again. 

After explaining to Namahoro how we raised this money to assist them, she expressed her gratitude toward GLFP and all stakeholders involved. 

Thank you so much and may God bless you!”

Food for Thought

Remember, 100 percent of all donations made to the USANA Foundation always go to change the lives of those most in need around the world.

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