EALE, INUKA project (Get up and make progress)

Community support for the socio-economic reintegration of girls and their siblings in the east of the DRC

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Testimony

Testimonial from INUKA staff

The vulnerable young women who are hosted and cared for at INUKA say they are happy to find a place where they enjoy living, a place where they can thrive and be protected. The different things they learn help them to become independent.

Parents and other visitors appreciate the location, the building and the nature of the work we do for the young girls and their siblings. 

The staff employed by EALE are happy with the conditions in which they work for the best interests of the children.

The beneficiaries of the houses built for the siblings (or families) in Kibwe are sheltered from bad weather and have well-built toilets, which prevents diseases. They feel valued in society and the fact that they have acquired a safe shelter helps them to recreate family cohesion.

Testimonial from Déborah, 21 years old, a young woman who was reintegrated into her community:

My name is Déborah Salama; I'm 21 years old, I'm from Karuba, a small town located about 60 km from the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I lived with my parents in Karuba. During the 'rebel war' in 2007, I fled the confrontations with my parents, and we went to Goma. During the shooting and bombs, I got lost and couldn't find my parents. I followed the other people from our area to the 'Bulengo' displaced persons camp in Goma. Because I lived alone in the camp, without shelter or anyone to help me, I sometimes went hungry at night, while other displaced children who were there with their parents found something to eat. It was here that the INUKA social workers found me and took me to the transit centre.

They looked after me at INUKA for two years, from October 2007 to July 2009. Since I had never been to school, I didn't know how to read or write. During my stay at INUKA, the INUKA trainers first taught me to read and write, then I was referred to a centre where I followed remedial classes and learned tailoring and sewing.

I returned to my family in Karuba in 2009. Today, thanks to the training I followed during my stay at INUKA, I have become a busy dressmaker in my village. I earn USD 30 per month. I give USD 15 to my parents to help them take care of my young brothers and sisters, for the family's primary needs, and I use the remaining USD 15 for my personal needs.

Thanks to this job, I have bought a table and an iron and I have rented a field which my family and I use to grow crops. We plant different crops like beans and maize. At harvest time we sell some of it and we eat some of it. The things I learnt at INUKA allow me to make a contribution to society. I didn't know how to read or write, but today I teach other young girls the things I know.

In the future, I intend to buy a field for my family, then I'll be able to expand my business by opening a large dressmaking workshop in my village.

Testimony from Roseline, 14 years old, a victim of sexual abuse:

I'm a young girl aged 14, I was the victim of sexual abuse carried out by unidentified men in uniform in the village where I was born. After that, I was never comfortable and I felt insecure in my village. Plus that, people discriminated against me in my community.

I have been staying at INUKA since the month of June 2012, and I couldn't accept the reality of my situation. The members of the INUKA team approached me many times and I felt respected. None of the children know my story and I live happily with all the children and the INUKA staff. I help with the housework like all the other children. Based on meetings with INUKA staff, I realised that despite my past, I could make my future something beautiful. I have hope for a better future. I now feel very fulfilled because INUKA enrolled me in a professional training centre where I learnt tailoring and sewing skills. I am very proud of this training when I see the work I produce. I am happy that I can live with others without being discriminated against. My uncle on my father's side often visits me. During the last meetings I had with him, he introduced me to an aunt on my father's side who moved to Goma. My aunt and my father agreed that after I return to my biological family, I will go back to Goma to live with my aunt, so that I will no longer feel frustrated in the village where I was born.

Testimony from Providence, 13 years old, about life at the INUKA centre

My name is Providence, I'm 13 years old, I come from Masisi (Kilolirwe); both my parents are still alive but my mother has gone mad. My parents are separated. My mother wanders around with my two other little sisters. There are three of us in our family, all girls. Given our mother's mental problems, my father's family tried to separate us from her.

One of my aunts on my father's side, Mrs Marceline, who was concerned about us, took me in and took me to Goma for healthcare. Three months later, Mrs Marceline started to mistreat me, until I had wounds all over my body from being tortured. Thanks to the neighbours who took pity on me, I was introduced to the INUKA officers who worked in the area. They listened to me, and decided to take me to the INUKA transit centre, where I started living in 2008. This was how I was saved and today, I would like to thank the INUKA support workers and my aunt's neighbours. The INUKA project taught me forgiveness, how to run a household, to manage a small budget, and what's more, I go to school and I'm now attending the fourth year of primary school.

To the other young girls out there, don't shut yourselves off because there are people who can listen to you and take care of your problems to give you direction in your future life. The INUKA centre is really unique in the city of Goma as a place that supports and cares for young girls, helping them to achieve reconciliation and search for their families.