On Friday October 4th, 55 women gathered to learn, give, and celebrate the joy of empowering women. Through the compassion and generosity of our iZōsh Birmingham members and guests, we were able to grant $7,642 in micro-loans to 22 women around the world, bringing our chapter total to $13,342 of micro-loans to 48 women! By granting micro-loans to these women, we help them to lift themselves out of extreme poverty and reduce the risk of oppression and exploitation in their lives. We are so grateful for the support of Redeemer’s mission fund which allows us to host an iZōsh chapter here in Birmingham!
Our keynote speaker for our fall event was Dr. Alain Mukwege – research associate at the University of Michigan school of nursing and son of Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He educated us on the history of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and how the ongoing conflicts are financed in large part by the exploitation of the natural resources found in common household items. In contrast to the unspeakable violence against women was Alain’s message of hope. He described the work he and his father are doing at the Panzi Hospital where they have cared for over 50,000 survivors. Their goal is to transform pain into power and ultimately to change hate by love.
Lastly, we had the pleasure of hearing from Alain’s wife Deborah, who brought pieces from her beautiful Congolese wardrobe as well as purses that were handcrafted by the women at the Panzi hospital. To learn more about the Panzi Hospital or to support their work visit the Panzi Foundation website at https://www.panzifoundation.org. If you want to learn more about ending the violence ongoing in the Congo and to take steps to demand the development of Conflict-Free Mineral supply chains you can visit https://enoughproject.org/get-involved/take-action.