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Cinderella for a Day

Two graduates (and baby) of the sewing class standing with Pierre and Judy of Just Equipping, one of our ministry partners in Goma

Cinderella for a Day

Showing abused women they are special and valued

Dear Friends,

I have just received this wonderful report on the graduation celebration given for the most recent group of ladies who have finished one year of sewing training at the Women of Wellness (WoW) Center in Goma, DR Congo. In addition to vocational training, these women—all of whom have been raped or violently abused—have benefitted from biblical trauma counseling, the provision of food and clothing for themselves and their children, literacy classes, vocational training and medical care.

Goma has been called the “rape capital of the world” by the United Nations because its women and children are often used as weapons of war by various militias in a decades-old civil war. Read on, however, to discover God’s glorious redemptive power shining forth through the lives of these severely wounded women and their outcast children, as told by Heaven’s Family-partner Judy Allard…

The day [of celebration] began in earnest. Singing, drumming, dancing. We had a teaching time on “Listening, waiting—God’s time.” Every one of the girls wanted to speak and we had to go get the box of Kleenex. Homeless, deserted by husbands for another wife, rejected by families after rape, in prison, victims of crime, internally displaced by warring factions, attempts at suicide, one crying with her four children in their room because there was no food for any of them.

Then, finding community, counseling, medical help, noon bouillie (a high protein porridge), child care, literacy and sewing courses…. About half are now making a few pennies for food from sewing, all are in a better situation with more self esteem. Some owe their lives to WoW because of medical interventions.

So many firsts for them: first time out of their country (celebration took place in Gisenyi, Rwanda, across the border) first time in a big house staying with white people, first time to have bread at breakfast, first time to have unlimited drinking water, first time to eat three times a day, first time to eat sitting at a table, first time to have a spa day, first time to go swimming, first time to have a sleep-over and a gift basket with clothes, underwear, soap, baby outfits. First time to receive a Certificate of Training! We left them with the thought that while this may be their first “success day,” with God’s help and their hard work and determination, it would not be their last.

What a testimony to the resurrecting power of new life in Christ!

The dinner celebration at L’Auberge restaurant. It was the first time they ate in a restaurant—and the first time they ate from a table!

At left, the women received facials; at right, they continued to be pampered by receiving professional pedicures

At left, swimming for the first time in Lake Kivu; at right, the gift bags (crafted by Internally Displaced Persons) they received containing clothes and personal items

Thank you so much to all of you who have sown into this restoration through the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry. This is truly bearing fruit and bringing great joy into the lives of those who come to us in Goma asking, How can I get over the feeling of being dead inside? Their faces reveal the healing and hope that’s entered their hearts.

Together with Him,

Carole Collins
Director, Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry

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