A young woman based in the United States is to compete in a triathlon to raise money for the Panzi Hospital which helps to treat women in the Congo left injured and traumatised by rape. It is said that that four women are raped every five minutes in the Congo, the money raised by April Houston will help these women rebuild their lives.
The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo began in the late nineties and still continues today; the conflict has left thousands of people displaced and others horribly injured. Sexual violence is used as a weapon against the women in the Congo, as it often is in conflict.
April Houston will swim 100 meters, cycle for 20 miles and run for another 4 miles. April hopes to raise $2000 for the Panzi Hospital and has so far raised more than $1500 of the total. The Spine Africa Project is a non-profit based in New Jersey and they do work in the Congo with the victims of the continuing violence in the Congo. Upon hearing of April’s challenge, The Spine Africa Project has donated some money to help April reach her goal. You can find out more about their work here.
Commenting in a press release, April said:
“I have always been opposed to injustices of all kinds, even as a child. I moved to St. Louis and in 2006 I met a group of young men who were refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I heard their stories of fleeing attackers in the middle of the night, running for days, seeing their friends and neighbors slaughtered in front of them, not knowing if their parents were alive or dead. At that point I told them that I would commit myself to do everything possible to help.”