100 new houses for survivors of sexual violence in South Kivu

17 March 2023

In the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sexual violence and rape are used as war weapons by many armed groups. Every year, more than 1,500 women and children fall victim to this practice.

To help them, the Luxembourg Red Cross supports the Panzi General Hospital, founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, where survivors of sexual violence receive health care to heal their physical and psychological aftermath. In addition to the medical care provided by the hospital, the Panzi Foundation aims at helping these women regain their place in society and live in a more dignified and secure manner, often in a context where they have been excluded by their families and communities.

It is with this objective in mind that, after having already built a hundred single-family houses in 2020 and 2021 for the benefit of survivors, the Luxembourg Red Cross accompanied Dr. Denis Mukwege to the inauguration, on 7 March 2023, of one hundred new houses in Bukavu, Miti, Birava, Minova and Mulamba. Each house has three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a latrine. “They respond to a need to restore the dignity of the beneficiaries, as many of them were living in straw houses, which were often dilapidated and sometimes without doors and windows“, said Dr Denis Mukwege at the inauguration ceremony. “Before, I lived with the pigs, I was considered as a chicken and I no longer felt human. Today, I have become a human being again thanks to this house“, stated one of the hundred women who received the keys to their new home on this occasion.

In order to guarantee the sustainability of these achievements, the beneficiaries are accompanied in the constitution and filing of their case in order to obtain a property title by the legal clinics recently built by the Panzi Foundation and the Luxembourg Red Cross. Their socio-economic reintegration is also supported through the provision of livestock, food and market seeds, and support for their solidarity groups.

This project of the Luxembourg Red Cross Humanitarian Aid is supported by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.