La Synergie des Association Feminines du Congo (Synergy of Congolese Women's Associations, or SAFECO), founded in 2012, is a Congolese nonprofit organization that was founded with a focus on enabling women to empower themselves.
Rwenena (Ruh-NEHN-uh) is a remote and marginalized village in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. A refugee camp in the late 1990s, Rwenena suffered mass, ethnic-motivated killings of people from DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi in the 2000s. Today tensions remain, along with extreme poverty and lack of basic provisions. Children in households without the means to pay for school remain at home.
To address this injustice, in 2015, SAFECO developed an impactful primary school education program, Rwenena Kids. We provide tuition and supplies for children of violated women, as well as orphans, Persons with Albinism, Persons with Disabilities, ethnic minorities, Internally Displaced Persons, and refugees. We also support children in less vulnerable life circumstances to avoid resentment.
Our hallmark Sport for Peace program is an investment in the next generation of leaders and peacemakers. Open to every child in the school and led by specially trained coaches, we provide something that is often lacking: the joy of sport. The program requires all participants to practice not only soccer skills but also mutual respect and cooperation. Advancing social and emotional development, students gain self-confidence and motivation to succeed in school.
In 2017, we added 2 new components:
1. A smaller-scale secondary school scholarship program; and
2. Literacy training and health and hygiene education for teen mothers, led by SAFECO's Girl Ambassadors for Peace.
In 2017-18, we are sponsoring about 90 primary school students, our first 4 secondary school students, and up to 100 women for literacy and health and hygiene education.