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Safi’s Sanctuary


Safi and her baby, Placide, the precious product of her mother’s rape

Dear Friends,

Let me tell you about Safi and her daughter, Placide, who came seeking help at the Women’s Wellness Center, a refuge for women who have suffered rape in the decades-old civil war around Goma, D.R. Congo.

One day while walking to work in the fields, Safi was kidnapped and raped by a group of militia. She managed finally to get back to her home where she told her mother, who took her to a clinic. She eventually gave birth to Placide, who is now 7 months old.

Safi’s health has declined since giving birth. She lives and works at a construction site, trying to carry enough heavy bags of charcoal to earn enough to feed herself and Placide. She dreamed about one day learning a skill to better care for her child, like sewing, but this seemed impossible…until she heard about the Women’s Wellness Center.

Safi is now one of more than thirty-five women who are receiving a daily meal, Christian trauma counseling, medical assistance, literacy classes and is learning to sew—all in “Petite Sanctuaire” (or Little Sanctuary, as the center is often called). Here these women, who have been cast aside by their husbands, families and villages, find safety from the violence that plagues their nation—for now.

The lease on the wellness center’s building has recently expired, and they may be forced out at any time. The pastor and his team who run the center hope to find a small tract of land where a new home for these ladies can be built (or land with a suitable structure), replete with overnight lodging—which will help keep women safer—and a garden to grow some of their own food. Any assistance toward establishing this new refuge would be greatly appreciated.

Because of Him,

Carole Collins
Director, Victims of Sexual Violence Fund

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