Something extraordinary happened today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In this country commonly famed for its use of rape as a weapon of war, today, thousands of women and men united in a peaceful demonstration to behold the value of women. Today is International Women's Day.
Near Bukavu, where FH has an office, more than 1,000 women converged — many walking long distances from rural areas — exuberantly singing and dancing as they marched. They carried banners like the one above, saying “International Women's Day – Equal access to opportunities for all in a unified Congo.” A formal ceremony recognized attendants from the United Nations, the local government and other sectors.
As the mass of people marched, they passed groups of community activists encouraging everyone to get tested for HIV — a disease that thrives on extreme poverty and the mistreatment of women.