“Stand UP” Program

The “Stand UP” Program famously known in French as “Levez-Vous” is a program with the objective to support and promote the physical-emotional, social-cultural, and the economic wellbeing of the victims of traumatic events and help them rebuild their lives regardless of ages. This program is delivered under three activities: 1)Supporting and promoting the physical and emotional well-being; and 2) Education support for children victims of traumatic events; 3) Social-cultural and economic wellbeing support.

1) Supporting and promoting the physical and emotional well-being

Through supporting and promoting the physical and emotional well-being, ECAAIR offers:

1) a. Financial support to help victims of traumatic events (e.g. torture, sexual and domestic violence) to access basic health services that meet their needs. Example : In the fiscal year 2015/22016 ECAAIR financially supported 450 women and 310 men (within the age range of 8 to 60) to access basic health care that meet their needs e.g. comprehensive physical examinations and medications prescribed by their doctors.Support foreach beneficiary was up to US$200 per person

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Mr. Joseph 37, (we have used a pseudonym and covered the face to protect the victim from more attacks)

Since 2012, Mr. Joseph has been receiving ECAAIR services to improve his physical, emotional and economic well-being. Joseph was attacked in 2012 and kidnapped from his home in Masisi territory in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After his attackers poured acid on him, murdered 2 of his 5 children and raping his wife in his presence, Joseph was taken and held captive in the bush for two weeks. His wife died in November 2015 as a result of the traumatic events that she had gone through. Joseph was an innocent civilian suspected by the M23 rebel movement of having links with another rebel group opposed to M23. Joseph lives with his 3 remaining children who are also traumatized by this horrific crime. His situation and that of his family is one of thousands of cases ECAAIR works with on a daily basis.

The March 23 Movement (French: Mouvement du 23-Mars), often abbreviated as M23 and also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army, was a rebel group based in eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has operated since 1998 under different acronyms such as RCD and CNDP movement. The M23 rebellion against the DRC government has committed numerous crimes against humanity, killed millions and led to the displacement of millions of people.

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Ms. Leonie 47, is a victim of rape and a victim of traumatic events In 2007, Ms. Leonie, a mother of 3 and an indigenous pygmy woman was raped by three armed men suspected to be DRC government soldiers. In 2008 she nearly died after a grenade exploded near her wounding her severely. Leonie is one of thousands of cases ECAAIR works with on a daily basis.

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Ms. Jane 29, with her son (we have used a pseudonym and covered the face to protect the victim from more attacks)

In 2013, Jane was kidnapped from her home in Bunyakiri district in South Kivu province in DRC. She was kidnapped by the Mayi Mayi rebel group and kept in the bush were she was repeatedly raped by different commanders for 2 weeks. After she was released and returned to her home she was rejected by her husband and community. After an ECAAIR sponsored comprehensive medical exam, Jane was found pregnant and HIV positive. Jane wanted to abort the pregnancy but her doctor advised that it was too dangerous for her. Jane gave birth to a son. Jane’s thoughts and emotions toward her son are mixed from time to time. We have placed a team of community volunteers and family to support Jane and protect the child when Jane is feeling agressive or displays negative actions and reactions toward her son. Jane’s case with her son is one of thousands of cases ECAAIR works with on a daily basis.

The term Mai-Mai or Mayi–Mayi refers to militia groups active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formed to ‘defend’ their local territory against other armed groups. Most were formed to resist the invasion of Rwandan forces and Rwanda-affiliated Congolese rebel groups. Some rebel groups may have also been formed to exploit the war for their own advantage by looting, cattle rustling or banditry.

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Ms. Jessica 17, (we have used s pseudonym and covered the face to protect the victim from more attacks)

Jessica has been forced to become a survivor after her 13 siblings, Mother and Father were all murdered in their home in 2014 in Butembo town in North Kivu, DRC. During the incident Jessica had gone for a prayer meeting at a local church in the area. The murderers were suspected to be either the ADF or FDLR group.The ADF is also known as Allied Democratic Forces. It is a rebel group operating in eastern DRC, opposed to the Ugandan government and considered a terrorist organization.

The FDLR is also known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda rebel group comprised of key members of the 1994 genocide. Jessica’s case is one of thousands of cases ECAAIR works with on a daily basis.

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Ms. Marie 15, survived a community mob attack and has been living on the street since 2013 after being rejected by her parents and after being accused of witchcraft

A 2015 survey conducted by the East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights in 30 urban zones/villages involving 129 street children (age 8-24) and 30 churches of different faiths, and 18 civil society organizations in the region targeted by ECAAIR initiatives revealed that between 6 and 10 children are excluded from their families; and between 3 and 6 are killed in their communities in each 500 households for being accused of witchcraft or for being accused of possessing demons or of being cursed due to what is considered in the household or community as unusual behavior and actions. In most cases the unusual behavior and actions of the child is due to traumatic events and mental health illnesses. Other children may not be mentally ill but they are often blamed for the misery of their families and called ‘bad luck’ therefore witches. As a result of social and cultural discrimination many children end up in streets exposing them to numerous problems such as: exploitation, prostitution, recruitments in violent gangs and substance abuse including alcohol, drugs and other toxins. Ms. Marie was one of those cases before being helped by ECAAIR. A 2015 survey conducted by the East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights (ECAAIR) reveals that there are about 15,000 children and youth living on the streets in the regions targeted by this initiative.

1) Psychologic support and intervention to help victims of traumatic events to access community services that meet their needs. 2015/2016 ECAAIR providedto 2,100 people(1,600 women and 500 men within the age range of 8 to 70)individual/group counseling services, referrals and advocacy with the aim to encourage positive living, minimize isolation, stigma and social marginalization (activities minimize isolation and marginalization include community sports events for youth, community drumming circles, dancing workshops, awareness-raising and self-support groups). In addition ECAAIR provided to participants through trainings with skills to help them identify early signs of mental health, to communicate them, to identify resources in and outside the community; and help cope, build self-esteem and resilience.

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During ECAAIR’s Group counselling services to improve the wellbeing of the victims

2) Education support for children victims of traumatic events

Through ECAAIR Education support for children victims of traumatic events, over 489 children (age 7 to 24 years) have been supported to access primary and high school education in South and North Kivu provinces in DRC. Support has included school fees payments, money to buy books and homework support.

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Cinyere 7, in the right carrying her sister Nankafu and Mukozo 7, left carrying her brother Murhula

Both Cinyere with her sister Nankafu and Mukuza with her brother Murhula are among the 489 beneficiaries of our education support for children victims of traumatic events program.

Cinyere with her sister Nankafu and Mukuzo with her brother Murhula have been placed in the care of families volunteering for this program and they are supported by ECCAIR to attend schools and to meet their basic needs. Cinyere with her sister Nankafu were abandoned 2 years ago by their widowed mother who had been arrested for drugs and related crimes.

Mukuzo with her brother Murhula are orphans of both parents and were removed from their family property by their uncle who occupies it now illegally. Both Cinyere with her sister Nankafu and Mukuzo with her brother Murhula are 2 of the thousands of cases managed and supported by ECAAIR on a daily basis.

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Musafiri 9, right with ECAAIR Executive Director left

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Chibibi 13, right with ECAAIR Executive Director left

Both Musafiri and Chibibi are orphans and whom both suffer from mental health illnesses. They are both supported through ECAAIR programs and are part of the thousands of cases managed and supported by ECAAIR on a daily basis.

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ECAAIR Staff prepares a list of children beneficiaries of our Education support

3) Social-cultural and economic wellbeing support

Social-cultural and economic wellbeing support activities have proved to be very valuable and effective as a mean to provide food, income to children and group/communal mental health therapy to women and men who have survived violence and torture. Example during the fiscal year 2015/2016, under the social-cultural and economic wellbeing support, 450 people received support in cash and in services valued up to $US400 per person. This program directly benefited children in need, youth and women victims of traumatic events from households identified living bellow a $US1 per household. Trainings and skills are provided and monitored for project developments by ECAAIR. For administrative and monitoring purposes beneficiaries were placed in groups of 10 to 20 members each.

Examples of long term innovative income generating activities include:

a) Some groups have started a community animal husbandry of 20 pigs (10 virile males and 10 fertile females).Under normal circumstances of South and North Kivu provinces in DRC and with their short gestation, a pig gives birth two times a year, leading between 6 to 12 piglets a year that can be sold or consumed after 6 months of their birth. The minimum life span of a pig is 5 years in the region which means pigs can make several piglets many times over.

The money generated from the sales support the education and health of the beneficiaries and has created employment for the people who look after the pigs as well as entrepreneurship in the community. In addition, pigs have the ability to produce garbarator, and nutrient-rich manure which aids in reducing food waste and contribute to lush crops in the community. It is an affordable, sustainable and culturally sensitive means of recycling organic materials. This meets the biophysical and socioeconomic needs of the local communities.

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Pig farming project supported by ECAAIR

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Pig project supported by ECAAIR

b) Some groups have started community domestic animal husbandry cultivating the production and care of hens and roosters for the purpose of providing nutritious food and a continuous source of income.The money generated from the sales of eggs and meat can help access additional healthy nutrition, basic health care services and meet other needs such as renting shelter for beneficiaries. This in turn increases the probability of saving the lives of direct beneficiaries and members of their households. The care of hens and roosters are low labor intensive allowing for new mothers and pregnant women to participate with minimal risk of physical health concerns to their selves and unborn foetus. This meets the biophysical and socioeconomic needs of the local communities.

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Beneficiaries demonstrating how they work and support each other for a common benefit

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Hens project supported by ECAAIR

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Eggs produced by one of our supported group

c) Other groups have started community animal husbandry of 100 rabbits. Under normal circumstances of South and North Kivu provinces in DRC, six rabbits can breed up to 10 bunnies every 31 days.The minimum life span of a rabbit is 4 years. This created instant business with each of the bunnies being worth $3 one week after birth. With a clear and organized scheme this has been an innovative and sustainable way to generate income to support the physical and mental wellbeing of our beneficiaries.

These innovative schemes are sustainable short and long term with means to bring food on the table, create jobs as well as the ability to provide income. (This project has included any profitable income generating businesses which are gender inclusive and environmentally sound.)

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Rabbit project supported by ECAAIR

d. ECAAIR is also a member of a cooperative initiative of 24 boats that employs poor indigenous community members and victims of traumatic events (21 pygmies-indigenous people have been employed full time in the province of South Kivu).In addition, revenues generated during the year 2015/2016 supported small business for 20 indigenous women from poor households living below $1 per household per day. Example of a business funded included selling avocados, fish and vegetables etc. Each beneficiary received US$120. Due to the lack of roads the maritime transportation remains the most reliable transport in the country. It is one of the most strategic ways to invest and create employment when proper management is ensured.

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One of ECAAIR boats with passengers. Our boats have operated since 2012 without incident