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Holistic Healing for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Dr. Denis Mukwege founded Panzi Hospital in 1999 as a response to the devastating war that surrounded his community in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the brutal sexualized violence that has characterized it. Panzi Hospital treats approximately 3,000 women a year complex gynecological injuries, including obstetric and traumatic fistula, as well as other injuries sustained through rape and sexualized violence. The hospital currently has 450 beds, 250 of which are reserved for survivors of sexual violence.

Panzi’s holistic model of care provides survivors of sexual violence with services that meet the full spectrum of their needs: physical recovery, psychosocial support, community reintegration and legal assistance. In addition, we make critical investments in building the capacity of civil society organizations doing the grassroots work to rebuild their communities on principles of human rights and partnership between men and women.

40% - 60% of the women treated at Panzi Hospital are unable to return home after medical treatment – either because of the extent of their injuries, the ongoing violence or, most often, the stigma associated with rape or obstetric fistula.

At Maison Dorcas, Panzi’s innovative after-care facility, these women and girls who are otherwise unable to return home after their medical treatment receive housing, meals, and access to the full slate of holistic recovery support provided by Panzi, all in a protected, collaborative and supportive environment. These programs include therapeutic counseling, job skills training, literacy and numeracy classes, micro-grants and -loans for small businesses, and outreach projects to rural communities. The ultimate goal of the Maison Dorcas staff is to heal and build the resilience of the whole woman, her whole family, and her whole community, setting the entire region on a course towards lasting peace.

Funded by Awesome Without Borders (July 2015)