Self-defense course for girls in Bukavu (DRC)


Rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has become a weapon of mass destruction, according to Nobel laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege in eastern Congo. He estimates that nearly 500,000 women have been raped and mutilated over the past 20 years by members of various armed groups. GBV is indeed endemic. In addition to the disastrous consequences for the health of women and girls, the victims are then rejected by their family and often end up in the street. The fight against rape as a weapon of war is urgent, at the legal and political level but also in everyday life.

Since 2010, we have set up self-defense courses for girls in two schools in Bukavu in South Kivu, a particularly dangerous area where Dr. Mukwege's Panzi hospital is located. Hundreds of girls between the ages of 6 and 18 have taken our classes, which has given them a new confidence and helps them focus on their studies," said Semy Ntamwira, who runs the project in Bukavu with Afia-Fev, a small humanitarian association founded by nurses.

It is urgent to continue this initiative, which is supported by Nobel Prize recipent Dr. Denis Mukwege himself.

Targeted results and indicators:

Learning self-defence is the best way to intervene upstream against violence against women (GBV). These courses taken by girls- potential victims - give them self-confidence and a minimum capacity to defend themselves against any attack.

According to our local partners, the results can be seen as early as school: the boys behave far less aggressively towards the girls who are more confident and assertive, and the girls themselves concentrate much more and work better in class. The day they face the endemic violence in the region from the militias that terrorize the area, they will have greater confidence in themselves.


80 schoolgirls each year with the possibility of increasing the number of beneficiaries.

This year, thanks to a private donation, we conducted an additional project based on teaching self-defence to  35 young women victims of gender-based violence, single mothers in Kamanyola surviving through sex work. The beneficiaries also received   psychotherapy sessions and sewing courses

In April 2023, we began a new course for 38 young women also from Kamanyola with the same background. Self-defence will be taught by women who completed the previous course under surveillance of their teacher

...The (still precarious) state of our finances

For this vital Congolese project, apart from the Samata fund, we have never received any subsidy and depend entirely on YOUR donations

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