During our 2015 trip to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, our team members were able to witness the basketweaving class, one of the vocational skills classes taught to women at the facility. 

Tumaini (Hope) Project at the Panzi Foundation’s Maison Dorcas

Rape survivors are unable to return to their home villages after medical treatment, either because the severity of their injuries requires further care, or because the stigma of rape has led their families to turn them away. Maison Dorcas is a unique facility that provides extended post-acute shelter and other support services for patients and families treated at Panzi Hospital. The Tumaini Project, or Hope Project at Maison Dorcas, serves these survivors and provides them with an opportunity to rebuild their lives through a holistic program of support.

The program includes both one-on-one and group counseling, in addition to formal training in literacy, math, and entrepreneurship. With livelihood training in a range of marketable vocational skills such as basket weaving, soap making and embroidery, and with support from Panzi’s therapeutic programs, survivors are able to rebuild their lives and, eventually, reintegrate into the community.

Furaha (not pictured here for privacy purposes) is one of these survivors:

In 2010, Furaha came to Panzi Hospital after a brutal gang rape by six men. She was critically injured, incontinent, and in dire need of reconstructive surgery…The attackers killed her husband and many members of her family…Furaha arrived at Panzi Hospital with the only other survivor of the attack: her six year-old daughter, who had also been brutally raped. Furaha and her daughter had both been infected with HIV/AIDS by their attackers. While at Panzi, Furaha joined programs at our innovative Maison Dorcas after-care facility, where she had access to literacy and vocational skills training and continued therapeutic services. She could focus fully on her recovery with confidence that her daughter’s needs were being met as well, with schooling and child care. Panzi Foundation, USA
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About Our Partner - Panzi Hospital / Dr. Denis Mukwege
Panzi Hospital was founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2014 Sakharov Prize Laureate, as a response to the devastating war that surrounded his community in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The hospital now serves a population of 400,000 with a full range of health services.