In January 2003, Seraphine was pulled out of bed in the middle of the night by the Interahamwe, Hutu militiamen responsible for the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda and many of the recent attacks in the Congo. Her 3-year-old son "tried to cover me with his little body, but they beat him," she says. "Four of them raped my oldest daughter until she was bleeding from everywhere: the vagina, ears, nose, anus." Both children died. Her husband had been kidnapped some years before, and Seraphine, without a home or a way to feed her remaining six children, felt she could not go on.

After starting the Women for Women program, she learned that her husband was alive and had taken a new wife. When Seraphine told him how their own son and daughter were murdered, she says, "he cried and could not be consoled." Still, she says, "I see that he has no intention to come be with us."

Nevertheless, the counseling has helped her feel stronger. She is not only able to support her six children but has taken in her brother's four as well. "They killed him and took his wife into the forest. We still have no idea whether she is alive. So I am trying to send ten kids to school. I have been sick with migraines. But the little energy I have to spare will be to ensure the education of the children, especially the girls, because an educated and a noneducated woman do not live the same quality of life."


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