Billie Jo Sipe
Bonnie Kulenkamp wrote -In the summer of 2010, after waiting four years to add a child to our family, our daughter Story arrived home. She was adopted from a country called the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa.
I had no idea when I started the international adoption process, that there is a war raging in central Africa that has killed more people than WWII. 5.4 million people have died since 1998 in what has been since called "Africa's World War." The death toll is the equivalent of an Asian Tsunami every 6.5 months. A September 11 every 2.5 days. And nearly half of the deaths in the Congo are of children under the age of five.
This struck me, and it struck me hard. How could I adopt my daughter from Congo without giving back to the country that my daughter called home? During my experiences with adoption I learned about our daughter's country and it's history. I became involved with raising money through Women for Women International's Run for Congo program, gave my own money towards the sponsorship of a Congolese woman, and participated in a 5K in Chicago in order to give back to programs that assist women and children in Congo.
It still wasn't enough. In December, my friend, Ami Hall, discussed how a Run for Congo was not yet established in the Indianapolis area where we live. So, as two adoptive mothers, we are setting out to begin the first ever Run for Congo Indianapolis in order to raise money for the women and children of Congo. The proceeds from our 5K run will go towards the Women for Women International Congo program which assists women in learning to read and learning skills that will enable them to care for themselves and their children. We're not members of Women for Women International's staff, nor Run for Congo Women.
We're just two adoptive moms who love their daughters so much that we would like to give back to Congo in the best way we know how.
Women for Women International (WfWI) officially began operations in the DRC in 2004. WfWI – DRC’s country office is headquartered in Bukavu with two satellite offices located in Goma and Baraka. Currently, there are 9,324 women actively participating in WfWI’s comprehensive year-long program and more than 31,000 women have been served since program inception. Recent graduates of the program report significant improvements in their lives. For example, in 2008, 86% of the participants reported having improved their economic situation, 88% of women expressed increased self-confidence, and 83% reported having a greater knowledge of their rights. For more information please visit http://www.womenforwomen.org
For more information about Run for Congo Women please visit http://www.runforcongowomen.org.
Please join us on April 2 in Indianapolis for our 5K, join our fundraising team, or make a donation to support us and the women and children of DR Congo.