Birungi lives in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country that has been marred by brutal conflict and instability for decades. The fighting has led to large population displacements and significant human rights abuses, with women and girls often hit hardest.
Having no formal education, at the age of 19 Birungi’s only option seemed to be to marry a man chosen for her and live a life of subjugation and obedience. That is, until she was thrown a lifeline. Her uncle, who knew Birungi had so much more to offer, heard about skills training offered by a Tearfund partner. The centre gives young people who missed out on school the opportunity to learn a trade.
It was far from home, but Birungi rose to the challenge. She enjoyed the courses and the friends she made. Birungi learned to make and repair clothes and, thanks to the provision of a sewing machine, has set up a thriving business.
‘God’s word says we are all equal,’ says Birungi, now aged 22, who is an inspiration to many women in her community. ‘I long to see other girls restored and set free.’