Empowering women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Kalash Tribal is an American Tribal Style® dance troupe in the UK directed by Kelley Beeston. They started their Sister to Sister projects in early 2014 as a result of Kelley’s visits to the Congo with Luminosity now called Ensemble Pour La Difference – a registered UK charity (Reg no: 1174074)
Every time Kelley visits the Kivu region of Congo the women turn to her for help and support simply because she too is a woman. There are many taboos and superstitions which can not be talked about in front of men so the women tell her of their heart wrenching experiences and their need for help.
Many of the women are the victims of gender based violence including torture and sexual violence and rape both in the home and during conflict.
After Kalash’s initial success of providing a fishing net for some of the hundreds of widows on Idjwi (a large island in Lake Kivu), who lost their husbands as a result of drowning whilst trying to transport their coffee beans to Rwanda, fellow dancers from all over the world started asking Kelley how they could help and become involved.
As a result Kalash Tribal together with their master teacher and mentor Carolena Nericcio of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc. offer a collaboration where our whole ATS® community can be involved in raising funds to finance two further initiatives – whether as individuals or as a group you can make a one off donation, monthly donations or specific fundraisers for one or both projects.
Contraceptive Implant Project
This project initially set out to provide 1,000 women on the island of Idjwi with their first contraceptive implant. With the majority of Congolese living on less than a dollar a day they can not possibly afford the $7 it takes to buy an implant – that’s the price of just two cups of coffee
This project has been so successful that by December 2018 we have achieved double our target!
2,000 women now have an implant so we’re now pushing to raise that number to 3,000
These two short videos explain in the womens’ own words how important this project is to them
Sanitary Pads Sewing Project
The second project was initially to raise money to start a sewing workshop in Sake in North Kivu to support the victims of rape and torture by armed militia – we did that and thank you so very much.
But times have been really tough, with rebel soldiers only 2 or 3 kilometres from our workshop our security has been constantly under threat and we have been forced to move the workshop twice in the last couple of years. Thankfully we still have all the equipment and sewing machines and have moved everything to a new and safer location in Bukavu.
Here’s how it all started:
We’re now relatively safe in our new workshop and really excited to be testing our new product making washable sanitary pads as the majority of girls and women have nothing but old rags, dried dung or even leaves and grass. Girls miss school every month and women stay at home unable to go to market to earn money to support their families
We’ve been experimenting with prototypes and the indications are good.
Our biggest problem is sourcing a waterproof membrane for the pads as there is simply nothing available in DRC.
We need to move this project to the next phase so our next challenge is to raise enough money to buy a roll of waterproof fabric and ship it to Rwanda so one of our team can cross the border to collect it.
Can you help?
For full information on both projects and how you can help click this link
Support the Sister to Sister Project with your generous donation.