Monday, May 12
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
When people think about the Congo, too often what comes to mind are all the stories they hear about the violence against women, especially in the eastern part of the country. Lesser-known is the role of young people as both victims and perpetrators of the violence. A USAID-funded project to address sexual violence in Congo called USHINDI, run by IMA World Health under the direction of PC(USA) personnel, found that 48 percent of the victims of violence are children. It also found that because of years of war and hardship, youth have developed a more tolerant view of violence against women than was found in the older population.
With this attitude among the youth, without intervention the problem will obviously just get worse. Fortunately, USHINDI and similar projects are working to change people’s attitudes and behaviors. For the last two years, the project has provided medical, psychosocial, legal, and livelihood assistance to 11,180 survivors of sexual violence and engaged in extensive behavior-change programs with adults and youth to reduce this violence. The project is working: the percentage of youth victims has been lowered to 32 percent. While it will take years to change the attitudes of a society that has been so traumatized, because this project works through three prominent local church organizations and is linked to the national health system, the work will continue even when the project ends.
—Dr. Larry Sthreshley, PC(USA) mission coworker, Kinshasa
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) People in Mission
Jeff Boyd, regional liaison for Central Africa, Presbyterian World Mission, Christi Boyd, facilitator for women’s and children’s interests (Francophone Africa), Presbyterian World Mission • Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC): Ruth Brown, development specialist, Gwenda Fletcher, education consultant, Dr. John Fletcher, surgical consultant, Marcia Murray, teacher of math and English, Kristi Rice and Rev. Robert “Bob” Rice, Christian educators/evangelists, Inge Sthreshley, agricultural consultant, Dr. Lawrence Sthreshley, health consultant in Africa
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Lord, we lift up the suffering of the youth in the Congo, where the violence and hardship they face is tearing society apart. We pray also that you would transform the hearts of those who commit violent acts. Amen.