Changing the Lives of Sexual Violence Survivors

Changing the Lives of Sexual Violence Survivors

HOLD-DRC and GFF Work Together to Help Women and Girls

The Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) funded various programs by HOLD-DRC throughout 2014. Founded by a group of professionals in 2012, HOLD-DRC is an NGO that works with women and girls who are survivors of sexual assault, and those who are dealing with pregnancies and children conceived through rape. Through the organisation’s various initiatives, the women and girls are given the opportunity to be trained in areas like cooking, hairdressing and sewing, while their children are taken care of so they can focus on learning. They also receive psychological treatment to help them deal with the trauma they have experienced. Approximately 100 women participate in each training session.

Excellent Collaboration

With funding from the Gertler Family Foundation, HOLD-DRC was able to enroll more women for training. The GFF also sponsored the organisation to take part in the London Summit on Sexual Violence in 2014. HOLD-DRC’s Coordinator, Modestine Etoy, represented the organisation at the event. Esteemed photographer Patricia Willocq collaborated with the GFF to initiate ‘Look at me, I am beautiful’: a photographic project about female survivors of sexual violence, which created invaluable awareness of their situation. Time magazine’s African correspondent Aryn Baker heard about the project and contacted the GFF to learn more about HOLD-DRC. She was put in contact with Modestine, after which she travelled to the HOLD-DRC centre in Goma, where she worked with survivors for four days and reported on the work HOLD-DRC does on a video she published.

Angelina Jolie and Secretary William Hague at the London Summit on Sexual Violence in 2014
Angelina Jolie and Foreign Secretary William Hague at the London Summit on Sexual Violence in 2014

HOLD-DRC Needs Help to Help Others

Because HOLD-DRC is an independent organisation that survives without the assistance of government funding or regular sponsorship by international entities, it is in dire need of support. It relies solely on its fundraising efforts in order to continue to give female survivors the gift of learning and emotional support. Hopefully the new audiences exposed to HOLD-DRC’s worthy work through the feature in Time magazine will generate additional resources for organisation.

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