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Temecula restaurant to educate, empower women in Congo


Friday, December 6th, 2013
Issue 49, Volume 17.
Bevi Edlund
Staff Writer


For the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), education is the most powerful weapon against violence, said Aline Malekera, co-founder of MamAfrica Designs. She serves as the liaison between the DRC and the US.

MamAfrica provides arts programs and education courses for women in the DRC. Many of the women they work with are survivors of sexual violence.

Ashley Nemiro, co-founder MamAfrica, said sexual violence has been used as a weapon.

"You meet woman after woman who has been a victim Ö"

On Thursday, Dec. 12, MamAfrica will be hosting a "Dine for Congo Women" event at Earth Bistro in Temecula.

Five percent of the proceeds that day will go to support women in the DRC, a country that has seen violence against women for over 20 years, according to Nemiro. Women gain respect and consideration in their communities when they have an education, said Malekera.

Although Congo is poor, it is rich in natural resources, according to Nemiro. Therefore there are a lot of minerals that are being removed. Many of these materials that are being removed are used for computers and cell phones. This is why there has been war and violence in the country since the 90s.

"The education system in eastern Congo is pretty terrible," said Nemiro, partly because school is not free and it costs about $10 a month to send a child to school. One of the important reasons for wanting women to be educated is to help teach them to read and write so they can Advertisement
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work in a safe environment and start their future.

"That means a protected environment in which to feel safe, share their problems, talk with others and have a real understanding of their role in the society," Malekera said.

Another solution that will help give women opportunities, she said, is giving them activities in and around their villages.

"Women need to be informed about their rights so they can know how to defend themselves against atrocities," Malekera said.

She also said part of the reason itís so important for people to know whatís going on in Congo is because if the problem is unknown, there wonít be a solution. Once people find out whatís going on they become, "more interested and implied."

"The solution to the Congoís problems wonít [only] come from people who are witnessing the problems, but also from people who hear them, who understand the painful moments that women are experiencing," Malekera said.

Although money could really help the women in Congo, peace is what the country really needs.

If enough money is raised overtime, it could help women to become more independent, such as having their own place to live, helping to feed their children as well as sending them to school.

"With money, women could empower themselves and feel the joy to be someone respected and recognized in the society," Malekera said.

The Earth Bistro in Temecula is located at 40695 Winchester Rd. in Temecula. For more information, call (951) 506-8888.

If you would like to donate to the women in Congo, visit globalgiving.org/projects/raise-hope-for-women-in-eastern-drc-congo.


 

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