"Rape in war was far more deadly than bullets. Guns kill immediately but rape destroys a community for generations."
- Dr. Denis Mukwege
Panzi Foundation supports the work of Panzi Hospital. The hospital promotes basic, quality medical care—especially maternal and reproductive health care–for Congo’s marginalized populations.
For more than two decades, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has suffered conflict, with soldiers and armed rebels both using rape as a weapon, though recent studies also find an increase in rapes by civilians.
A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Public Health reported 1,100 rapes daily; more than 400,000 women and girls age 15 to 49 were raped during one 12-month period in 2006-2007—revealing that sexual violence against women is 26 times more common in DRC than UN reports had shown.
Panzi Foundation supports the work of Panzi Hospital and expands outreach to rural clinics and communities. The hospital, built in 1999 under the supervision of Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and Medical Director, promotes basic, quality medical care—especially maternal and reproductive health care–for Congo’s marginalized populations. It also promotes women’s rights, advocates for preventing violence against women and children, and helps survivors of sexual violence rebuild traumatized lives—including providing a school for their children, frequently the offspring of rape.
Over the past 20 years, the hospital has treated more than 85,000 women for gynecological conditions, many severe sexual-violence cases—not only mass rape but penetration by guns and other objects; the Hospital also treats survivors infected with HIV/AIDS.
Initiatives of the Panzi Foundation include:
- Maison Dorcas, a transit and safety house for survivors that provides women with a protected environment in which to heal via psychosocial and medical care, while learning skills for reintegration into family and community.
- USHINDI (“victory” in Swahili), a project in the remote areas of Mwenga, Kitutu, and Shabunda that serves survivors of violence and children born of rape through a holistic approach: literacy training plus medical, psychosocial, legal, and economic support.
- Badilika (“change” in Swahili), a project begun in 2013 to encourage the evolution of minds and behavior in the Congolese population on gender-related questions and to empower citizens as rights holders who hold authorities accountable.
- Legal Clinic, an important aspect of the holistic approach of Panzi to provide free access to justice through legal services.
- The City of Joy, supported by V-DAY and focusing on leadership training for women partners.
Dr. Denis Mukwege–practicing physician, founder and leader of Panzi Hospital, its projects, and Panzi Foundation–has received many global honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, the UN Prize in Human Rights, the King Baudouin International Development Prize, the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014.
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Dr. Denis Mukwege
Founder & Medical Director
Dr. Denis Mukwege
Panzi Foundation supports the mission of the Panzi Hospital, which is to assure holistic quality care to survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo through improved health care service delivery, community outreach activities, and advocacy.
Like a Heaven
By: DDA | Aug 21, 2013
Every part hurts--feet, trudging weeks from her village now stinking of corpses, burnt huts, and surviving kinfolk who drove her out. Neck cramping from the sack with her few belongings balanced on her head. Arms aching from the weight of a child butting her chest to nuzzle the dried breasts, his hunger howls joined by the newborn slung in a basket across her sore back.