WER is working in partnership with ARM Congo in Uvira, to help fund income generation projects for widows and female-headed households. It is estimated that over 2 million people were killed in Eastern Congo in the past three years. A generation of men has been lost, leaving behind tragic numbers of widows and orphans.
Widows, single mothers and orphans are often the most vulnerable in Congolese society. Many women have been raped during the war, resulting in a large number of single mothers who are marginalized in the community and who are bringing up children without any support network. WER is helping to support micro-enterprise initiatives that have been set up by widows to benefit the local community.
This project provides training in sewing to orphans, widows and single mothers. Beneficiaries are then able to start up small business generate income from the goods that they produce, allowing them to meet their basic needs. As well as receiving technical training in sewing, beneficiaries are also taught how to read and write. In this way, people who had previously been rejected and marginalised by society find that they are more easily reintegrated into their local communities. 39 orphans, widows and single mothers have already completed their sewing training and some of them have gone on to open their own sewing centres. The most recent group graduated in March 2007.
Widows have developed a milling project to generate income for their families. Up to 32 widows and single mothers are directly benefiting from this project. The project is also improving the well being of 28 malnourished children who are now receiving flour that is produced. The income generated has also provided secondary school fees for 11 orphans. This project is stimulating the local economy and providing a sustainable means of income generation for the local community.
WER has also assisted with funding to complete a school. This is used by children of widows within the milling project.
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