Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo – It was a momentous day for the community of Dungu, a small and dusty town in a poverty-stricken and unstable corner of northeast DRC.
Dungu and its surroundings have been affected by attacks at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Congolese women and girls have been kidnapped, raped, and terrorised during a campaign that has gone on for years.
Sister Angelique Namaika, the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award laureate, has lived in Dungu since 2003.
The 48-year-old Roman Catholic nun has helped more than 2,000 women overcome their trauma, counter the stigma attached to sexual assault, and rebuild their lives. With her prize money, she opened a cooperative bakery last Friday. It will allow her to assist additional displaced women.
“I don’t cry any more like I used to cry before,” said Sister Angelique. “Before I was not able to buy milk for the children because I had no money. Now when I go to the shops, they give me the milk even if I can’t pay immediately, because they know I will pay.
“Now I have only tears of joy. I cry only because I am happy. Before it was even difficult for us to eat. Now with the fields, we eat when we are hungry.”