Responding to Catastrophe in the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Although the world is reeling from the impact of COVID-19, other catastrophes are continuing to strike as well. On April 16, 2020, the territory of Uvira, within the province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was devastated by massive river flooding brought about by torrential mountain rains. Uvira is home to most of the women supported by the Vermont Ibutwa Initiative, and who are survivors of rape and sexual violence in an area that has been called the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman. Several of our clients were left homeless and others displaced and missing because of the flood.

Acknowledging that this is a challenging time for the world, Ibutwa nevertheless put out a call through social media, requesting that people who were still employed and those who had received support from the US government consider making a donation.

The supporters of Ibutwa heard our call and responded. We have raised almost $1500, of which $1000 was used to directly support victims of the flood; $300 was used as supplemental stipends to our staff who took up the work on the ground to address this catastrophe; and the remaining $200 was used for logistical expenses including transportation and distribution expenses.

We are grateful to our supporters who were able, in the midst of their own challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, to respond quickly and compassionately to the even greater catastrophe experienced by some of Ibutwa’s clients. The needs in the area are still ongoing, and we are continuing to support these women. If you would like to be a part of these ongoing efforts, your secure tax deductible donation can be made here

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Ibutwa is exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 501(c)(3).

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