Women of courage from the Congo



kymLet me introduce one of my great friends, Kym Basoka. She has recently become a first time Mum, works for Compassion Australia and in the interview below is speaking about something that is happening with women globally that she is deeply concerned about. Welcome Kym Basoka to kin women…

Hello Kym, Tell us a little about yourself?

Wife to Oswald, Mummy to 5 month old Jemi. I’m a compulsive creative and love celebrating life and living large at any opportunity. We live in Newcastle where I joined the Congo-Aussie community and like to visit local cafe’s, wearing my baby on my back wrapped in an African kitenge.

Age :35
Job: Digital Community Manager for Compassion Australia
Passions: My family, peace, justice and reflecting God’s glory with creativity
Current focus: The Sowers Group Australian Tour

Why do you believe courage for women is a really important character trait?

Women are faced with opportunities to be courageous at many stages in life. When we rise to the challenge we experience a growth in strength and self esteem that equips us to help others too. An attitude if courage leads to the next challenge and greater dignity.

What is the plight that you are most concerned about globally for women currently?

My husband and I are passionate about bringing relief to women and children suffering from the horrendous tortures of rape and sexual abuse during war, particularly in Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. It’s been documented that 1,100 women and girls are raped every day in DR Congo and if we imagine that this tragedy threatened our own mothers, sisters and daughters, it would not be tolerated by us or our media outlets. I’m passionate about giving the effected women a voice to be heard and finding opportunities to show these women we are with them.

How can women a part of the Kin network help the women of the Congo in their current situation?

There are a few tangible ways we can help…

1. Use your influence: We can all be a part of these women’s healing by participating in their recovery practically and educating ourselves with some of their terrible stories and introducing them to our networks. We can only imagine what they have been through, but we can be with them, by talking about their plight, share on our social networks and encourage the media and our government to be concerned about it and use their influence. Introduce these stories to your men folk too and ask them what they would do if it was their women threatened.

2. Connect for hope: Most of these women now feel a numbness, loss all sense of personal value and life. Just by writing a letter of support or starting a Facebook Group, sharing current news and speaking words of support, from here we all have the opportunity to show love and hope when every part of their value has been taken away and their precious sexuality has been used as an evil tool of war. Connect with relevant NGO’s that are making a lasting impact like the links available at the bottom of this page.

3. Get Creative: we all have something to offer. Whether you throw a high tea with your girlfriends, record a YouTube, write a poem, make cards or organize a fundraiser we all can make a difference. I know of a group of women who make quilts and take them to Africa every year to just sit with other African women in hardship, hear their stories, encourage them and be in solidarity as a group. It’s very impacting for all involved.

Who have been the most courageous women you have encountered?

All the women that survive these attrocities and choose to continue to try to live are courageous. There are mothers, sisters, aunts who care for their families despite what has happened to them. I read these articles [ links below ] and to me the women are the face and broken heart of this tragic issue. When I first read their stories I balled.

There are also women who live in the markets, who put their $1’s together to help impacting men like Dr Dennis Mukwege (more information click here) to return to help them, after fleeing for his life when his servant was murdered as a threat. Despite the threat, Dr Mukwege has now returned from Europe with his family to continue to help women heal physically under threat of his life and has been nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Courageous Doctors and nurses continue to be threatened by rebels for helping victims of rape in the current Congolese war.

What have you done recently that required courage?

I think God gives us opportunities to grow and be courageous all the time in small ways, but becoming a wife and mother took courage for me. Stepping out from the single life that I had quite good control over, to put your life in the hands of another and start a new family has been a sweet and eye opening adventure in the last year or so.

Have you seen anything recently that people have done to try and help that has been unhelpful?

If people don’t speak of the issues or do nothing, that’s unhelpful.

If you could offer any advice or wisdom to a woman wanting to reach out and make a difference in social justice globally what would you recommend she start with?

Start by educating yourself on the issues and spread the word. Research the issues you care about, research an NGO that makes a last difference and take action. Even sponsoring a child with brilliant organizations like Compassion (www.compassion.com.au), make a world of difference. Change a child, change a family, change a community.

If you would like to know more information about the issues kym has been speaking about above, read the following Articles.

NGO links:
http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org

http://www.stoprapenow.org/ngo-links/

http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/january-2007/congolese-women-confront-legacy-rape

http://www.womenforwomen.org/global-initiatives-helping-women/help-women-congo.php

Stories:

CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/24/world/africa/democratic-congo-rape/index.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/21/rape-congo-not-myth-under-reported

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/12/48-women-raped-hour-congo

http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/usa-for-africa-charity

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42985799/ns/world_news-africa/t/women-raped-every-day-congo-study-finds/#.UQhYB0IWFFI

http://www.marieclaire.fr/,au-secours-des-femmes-violees-au-congo,20258,372159.asp

Thanks Kym so much for sharing your heart for these women. We look forward to hearing from Kym sometime soon on Kin women.


About Amanda

Amanda Viviers Is an Author, Speaker, Creative Consultant and Novice Mum. Author of three books and she can be found most days at her shack close to the beach writing her fourth. She writes daily at www.amandaviviers.com and has worked in professional musical theatre. She worked on staff at Riverview for 12 years, mostly in the field of Creative Arts. Finalist in the Telstra Young Business Woman of the year and Community Services Award. She has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History and Literature and studied Musical Theatre at WAPPA. She is a presenter on radio across New Zealand and Australia and is the co-founder of kinwomen; a network created especially for women. Recent Winner of ‘2013 CMA Best Digital Media Project Award’ for her blog Capture life. She is passionate about social justice and in the past has loved supporting children in the slums of Thailand and Indonesia. Wife of Charl and Mum of Maximus and Liberty. She lives a creative life, longing to see people lived inspired.