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Calendars for Congo

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Calendars for Congo

Posted by Laura Heaton on January 13, 2010

File this one under “Creative advocates put talents to work.”

Former Peace Corps volunteer Rebecca Kingsley hadn’t been back to Congo for a number of years, but when she learned of the violence in eastern Congo targeting women and girls and leaving communities shattered, she began drawing from her strong memories of the country to look for ways to encourage people in the United States to support the survivors.

Her idea was to compile the stunning photographs she took during her time in Congo into a calendar. Now a documentary filmmaker living in Washington, D.C., Rebecca teamed up with the Panzi Hospital Foundation in the U.S. so that the funds raised by calendar sales could be sent to the Panzi in Bukavu, the only hospital in the South Kivu region specializing in surgeries to repair reproductive organs damaged by violent rape.

"I felt that maybe instead of just asking for people to make a donation, I could fashion something that people would actually learn a little bit about the place,” Rebecca said. “I figured a calendar was a good idea because it’s useful, and it’s something people would look at every day and be reminded of what’s being threatened and lost because of this insanity."

Rebecca set up a website to display the photographs and sell the calendars, but she’s not simply waiting for people to come to her.

“I spent all day yesterday walking around Capitol Hill delivering calendars and a letter attached to all the members of the foreign relations committees in both the House and the Senate,” Rebecca reported. The letter explained the goal of raising funds for Panzi, but also reminded the members of the importance of passing the Conflict Minerals Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

The Obamas, the Bidens, presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett, Secretary Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Rice, and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow should expect their copies any day now – Rebecca said they’re already in the mail.

For the rest of us, calendars are available here for $20.