The Enough Project’s Raise Hope for Congo Campaign is proud to present “I Am Congo,” a video series that has been months in the making.
“I Am Congo” features five amazing people living in eastern Congo amid the deadliest war in the world. These are their stories, in their own words.
Human rights lawyer Denise Siwatula fled a volcanic eruption with just her law book, becoming an advocate for rape survivors. She is a lawyer for Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles, or Synergie, a coalition of 35 local organizations in North Kivu working to provide legal and medical services for survivors of rape and sexual violence.
Artist and filmmaker Petna Ndaliko is the founder of Yole! Africa, a sanctuary of art, music and expression for youth in Goma. Every year in the battered, war-weary provincial capital—a place with few paved roads, let alone a theater—Petna organizes SKIFF, an annual film and music festival, that draws crowds in the thousands.
In eastern Congo’s enormous Kahuzi-Biega National Park, conservationist Dominique Bikaba protects endangered gorillas and local villages caught in the middle of decades of conflict. Dominique himself survived a militia attack. His organization, Strong Roots, focuses on conservation and sustainable development through educating and empowering local communities.
The video series also features two of Enough’s own field researchers: Fidel Bafilemba and Amani Matabaro. In Goma, Fidel is a prominent activist working to shake up the status quo and replace a culture of corruption and conflict with education. In Bukavu, a four-hour boat ride away across shimmering Lake Kivu, Amani is helping to lay groundwork on Congo’s hard road to peace. After losing both of his parents to the conflict, Amani founded Action Kivu, which works to facilitate economic and educational opportunities for some of the most at-risk communities in the region.
"I Am Congo" tells the full story of the Congo and its juxtapositions: natural beauty collides with decay; humanity struggles against a constant drumbeat of war; brave community leaders overcome personal tragedies and fight to improve the place they call home.
The work of Denise, Petna, Dominique, Fidel, and Amani would be difficult anywhere in the world. In eastern Congo, though, what they have been able to accomplish is nothing short of heroic.
If you’re new to the Congo, we hope these stories inspire you to learn more about the conflict and the solutions for creating a lasting peace. Check out the Raise Hope for Congo website for resources to help you get up to speed and get involved.
If you’re already familiar with the Congo, get ready to see it in a new light.