Breaking the Cycle

12 Jan 2019   |   Blog

Tags:  Women and development, Congo, DRC   |   No comments

When communities stand together they can overcome any challenge.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), women are working together to tackle the impunity and injustice endemic to their society.

Arnoldo1, a 43 year old ex-militant, has been the victim, and perpetrator, of violence. Many ex-combatants like him have themselves been recruited and forced to fight from a young age.

Violent conflict in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo scarred Arnoldo with deep psychological trauma which made it easy for him to become unfeeling, and to lash out in anger.

Yet the women of Arnoldo’s village had the wisdom and training to know that supporting his rehabilitation would be for the good of all.

“Through rehabilitation work, 500 ex-combatants have been educated about being responsible and peaceful citizens,” Caritas Australia’s DRC Protection Program Community Participation Leader, Lulu Mitshabu says.

Gainful employment through Caritas Australia’s DRC Protection Program is ensuring that even ex-combatants like Arnoldo, are contributing to society, providing for their families and upholding the rule of law.

Now that he has land of his own and a viable income, Arnoldo has a sense of purpose. The income he earns from the busy mornings he spends hard at work growing crops and rearing animals provides for his family, while the

sense of community and solidarity with others he now has nourishes his soul.

“In the afternoon, those who have conflicts with their neighbours, come to consult me for advice on how to settle their conflicts!” Arnoldo says.

While the scale of the crisis is large, change starts from the ground up. Arnoldo’s story demonstrates that a peaceful, thriving DRC is possible.

Your support of Caritas Australia’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially its community wide efforts to foster dialogue, rehabilitation and employment, are a source of hope in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This project is also supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).


Women from this community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are coming together to end cycles of injustice. Photo: Lulu Mitshabu, Caritas Australia

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