Shekeza in Congo Kinshasa is a change maker with a passion. She is working courageously alongside others so that people living in poverty can gain power over their own lives.
Shekeza made up her mind
"In 2004, our village was crawling with soldiers and rebels. They stopped us at roadblocks, demanded money and assaulted us.
On Easter Sunday that same year, the rebels came to my home. They raped me and my daughter. And that's all I want to say about that. But what I will say is that thanks to the courses I had taken, I was aware of the risk of getting HIV. Me and my daughter went immediately to the hospital and I'm so grateful that we escaped that.
What happened to me made me decide: I intend to spend the rest of my life, yes, even to sacrifice it if necessary, fighting against rape," says Nzigire Mwa Shekeza in the eastern Congo.
Will never give up
Shekeza is deeply committed to issues that concern women and their situation. In the village of Budodo, she is the vice president of the listeners' club of the human rights organization Association des Femmes des Médias (AFEM), which is one of Diakonia's partner organizations.
AFEM provides both men and women in the village with advice about their rights in family disputes and inheritance matters.
Uses the radio to reach out
On the radio, Shekeza interviews other women about their situation and talks about sexual violence in the family and in society, the importance of registering one's marriage and children officially with the authorities, and why it is so important to have legal documents.
Shekeza married while she was still at school. The marriage was never registered officially, which is common in some villages even today. This has led to women not having any right to inherit from their husbands. After Shekeza had borne him three children, her husband abandoned her. And she was left with nothing.
More than anything she wants to help others
In the early 2000s, she came into contact with AFEM. At that time she was only half-heartedly involved, because she didn't believe that she was the activist type or had the courage to really get involved. But after the rape, she became truly committed, wanting more than anything else to help others. She became a change maker.
Shekeza is a change maker with a passion. Deeply involved in Diakonia's partner organization AFEM, she is using the radio as her weapon to fight for women's rights in eastern Congo (DRC). She is even prepared to sacrifice her own life if necessary, in order to stop rape and assault. Photo: Joakim Roos, Moment Agency