Rosalie was a child soldier. She had no choice but to survive.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is all too common for women like Rosalie, who come face to face with adversity and have their agency stripped away. There is only one option left, to survive.
“I was in the battlefield with my baby on my back.” - Rosalie
The concept of agency over one’s life in the DRC is not something considered to be an option when barriers like gender-based violence, limited access to education, and conflict are ongoing.
Rosalie’s father passed when she was two years old, which meant her mother had little financial security and no means to afford schooling. Instead, Rosalie traded schoolbooks for a gun, becoming a child soldier at 15. The insidious gender-based violence and conflict soon followed.
SURVIVAL TAKES STRENGTH
While agency is not always an option, for Rosalie, having the power to choose courage was.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo and countries around the world, women like Rosalie are coming face-to-face with issues surrounding:
A staggering half of women report having experienced physical violence in the DRC, and almost a third have experienced sexual violence. Source: Worldbank.
Perpetrators mostly escape justice, and there is little support for survivors.
“No one showed respect towards me.” - Rosalie
Many children are unable to go to school due to barriers such as financial insecurity, gender limitations, and the threat of war.
Rosalie’s mother found it difficult to afford food and clothing, let alone school fees, so Rosalie dropped out of school.
“Many women in my community have had a similar life to me.” - Rosalie
Conflict in the DRC is ongoing. A staggering number of children are violated of their rights and used as child soldiers. Their childhood is taken away and replaced with experiences of insidious violence.
At the age of 15, Rosalie was forced into becoming a child soldier.
“In the army, I lived in extreme suffering.” - Rosalie
have experienced gender-based violence in their lifetime globally. Source: Worldbank.
of women in DRC are survivors of domestic violence and 39% of Congolese women report having been threatened or injured. Source: Un Women.
of women have completed secondary school—about half of the rate of completion for men. Source: Worldbank.
With your generous help, people like Rosalie can empower themselves to create a brighter future. A future with agency and freedom. And a future where they can not only survive but thrive.