Rosalie sits beside a tin wall looking up at two people exchanging a pair of shoes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Arlette Bashizi/CAFOD

The Cycle of Poverty


In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and around the world women like Rosalie come face to face with adversity that strips them of the chance to experience freedom.


War, violence and conflict are all contributing challenges that perpetuate this vicious cycle. With your generous support we can provide women and girls with the opportunity to choose a life of their own through skills training.


War, violence and conflict

Conflict in the DRC has been ongoing since 1996 and continues to have a devastating impact on millions of women and girls. As a result, the cycle of poverty continues generationally.

The DRC has one of the highest poverty rates in the world, with women disproportionately affected.

The result of ongoing conflict in the DRC are:

Widespread displacement

Conflict often forces women and girls to flee their homes, resulting in displacement and becoming refugees. Displaced women and girls face increased vulnerability to violence, exploitation, and abuse.

They often lack access to necessities, such as food, water, shelter, healthcare, and education.

Children being forced to become soldiers

Poverty and instability mean a staggering number of children are violated of their rights and forced to be used as child soldiers.

Their childhood is taken away and replaced with experiences of insidious violence.

Limited access to education

Conflict can have devastating economic disruptions, denying girls the opportunity to receive an adequate education.

Women and girls particularly have less access to education than men and boys, as well as higher rates of illiteracy.

Limited female healthcare

In conflict situations, women and girls often face limited access to healthcare, including reproductive health services.

The disruption of healthcare systems and infrastructure can lead to inadequate prenatal care, higher rates of maternal mortality and further economic impacts as a result.

Rosalie stands beside a road in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Arlette Bashizi/CAFOD

Rosalie’s Story

Rosalie was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her father passed when she was just two years old. This loss meant her mother had little financial security and no means to afford schooling. Instead, Rosalie had no choice but to trade schoolbooks for a gun, becoming a child soldier at 14. The insidious gender-based violence and conflict soon followed. At age 21, Rosalie could finally return home.

With your generous help, Caritas Australia, in partnership with CAFOD and Caritas Bukavu, provided locally led programs that helped Rosalie to have agency and control over her life. Skills training helped Rosalie to understand the importance of community and reintegrate back into society. Plus, she underwent business training that armed her with the power to choose her future and become a successful entrepreneur.

Timeline of Rosalie's Story

Rosalie is seated with other people in the community as they participate in skills training in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Arlette Bashizi/CAFOD

Help women like Rosalie to break the cycle

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can help a program participant acquire a small kiosk to start a sewing business.
a month could buy water filters to provide families and students in Malawi with access to clean and safe water

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to support women in vulnerable communities.

Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible


Along with your generous support, the skills training programs mentioned are also supported by the Australian Government, through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). 

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