Julienne’s story: escaping the war in DR Congo

Greg Funnell

With your support, we are working with ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances to stop war destroying lives. Julienne is one of these people. This is her story.

“I remember the day my life changed forever.

War broke out in my village in DR Congo and I had to flee with my family to escape the fighting. Before this we lived peacefully. My husband made soap in a factory. We had money and shelter. We were happy.

When we fled, we went to a camp for people that had been displaced by war. Life became bitter. I did not imagine how painful it would be to live in this way with no food, no shelter, and so on.

We survived with aid and donations from charities and NGOs. But after a while they stopped coming to our rescue. Some families nearby took pity on us and gave us a small portion of land to farm. But life was always painful.

Then my husband became ill.

Photo by Greg Funnell.

One day, a woman, my friend, came to visit me. She found me crying.

I told her about my problems and she revealed that a group of women in the village were receiving help from a local organisation called Centre Resolution Conflits (CRC) supported by Peace Direct. I was hesitant but I asked if I could join, and they accepted me.

I was welcomed into the group. They told me they were there to help people like me and I felt comfortable.

After several training sessions with other mums, I received some credit from the organisation. With my first loan of $50 I divided it into two parts: half for my husband’s care and the other to invest in the field we had.

Today my life has totally changed.

I produce a lot of cassava [a local root vegetable] and I have customers who buy my goods. I now run several small businesses selling cassava, beans and rice, and a few tomatoes, onions and leeks.

Recently I managed to buy a small solar panel for lighting in my house, so we can see in the evening.

 

“Today my life has totally changed. My children have new clothes and we eat properly now.”

 

My children have new clothes and we eat properly now. My husband is proud of me because I have become the manager of all this. My eldest son wants to become a motorbike taxi driver so he can put money towards our house.

I am grateful to those who have helped me. My hope is that they keep progressing and find other women like me or families who live painfully in order to give them hope for the future, as they have done for me.

I can’t imagine the life of my family without CRC, or what my life might look like now.”

Photo: Greg Funnell

£100 could pay for five acres of land to help a woman begin farming and rebuild her life after war. Support work like this here

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