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Fifty stigmatized children—most born of sexual violence—will be provided with tuition for 3 months of schooling at Rwenena Primary School in the South Kivu village of Rwenena in DR Congo. The students currently have nothing to write on (though they do have pens and pencils), so we are also raising money for composition books. Finally, for the teachers and principal with nothing to sit on, we would like to purchase chairs for them. The principal braves a nearly-3-hour commute each way and spends $30 of his $50 monthly salary on transportation, including gasoline. We hope to have subsequent projects raising funds for additional months of schooling. $750 of the raised funding will go to tuition, $100 for transportation for the students, and $150 for textbooks and supplies.


AMCAV is a grassroots, local Congolese organization founded in 1999 providing services mostly to women who have experienced sexual violence but also the disadvantaged, “vulnerable” population (including the disabled, widows, orphans, and those living with a serious illness), along with the children of these groups.

Since at least the 1996 wars involving Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), rape has been used as a weapon of war. South Kivu and particularly the Ruzizi Plain—location of this project—is a gateway into the country from neighboring Burundi. Even with war subsided in this area, inter-ethnic conflicts and instabilities remain—and so does the now-common practice of sexual violence.

AMCAV provides counseling, social reintegration, and income-generating activities for the targeted women. It is not uncommon for a husband to disown his wife after a rape. He may pay modest tuition fees for his birth children but not for a child born of rape. The child must remain at home in a stigmatized state.

In 2011, teaming up with Annette Scarpitta as part of a 7th-grade initiative, AMCAV began its first project to lift up disadvantaged children (mostly those born of rape) to attend school for the first time and to acclimate them with the rest of the schoolchildren, whose parents can afford to pay school fees. This has been done with great success, but we need donations like yours for the project to continue.


Funding for tuition remains our most urgent need to keep this program running. The Congolese government pays salaries to neither teachers nor principals and has no funding for school facilities or materials. The next priority is to purchase composition books for the students to write in (they already have pens and pencils). Currently the students use only the classroom blackboard to write on when presenting answers to questions. Adding and subtracting bottle caps is an example of how industrious teachers have come up with their own resources. The last priority for this project is to purchase chairs for the principal and teachers to sit in.

AMCAV team members have been successful in collaborating with heads of schools about the progress and needs of the AMCAV-funded students. Although many needs remain, the most powerful component of this project is that each student is a valued, accepted member of the school and, by default, of the greater community. The lesser alternative, without funding for school fees, is to have students return home to their former stigmatized status. Moreover, these students realize that education is the key to a better future for themselves and for their families, and they are motivated to succeed. We are reaching where no international NGO works. As long as funding for this program remains, we are filling a gap in UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown’s Education First initiative to have every child in school by 2015.

Team Credentials

AMCAV team members are trained residents of the communities they serve. The team has been working for many years operating “listening houses” for women served by AMCAV. The director of AMCAV has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women and educating them about their rights and the rights of their children.


  • Photos from Rwenena!

    We have been able to get notebooks for the students to write in and all in all, the after school instructional program has been a huge success! [img]/images/user/6336_6391078431763747316.jpg[/img] [img]/images/user/6336_1948111731437654234.jpg[/img] [img]/images/user/6336_13661991375475657893.jpg[/img] [img]/images/user/6336_4198528913163219718.jpg[/img] [img]/images/user/6336_16360010115815033577.jpg[/img]