Meet Vestine – women helping women in Africa

Written by MCJStaff   // July 11, 2012   // Comments Off

The trauma of war and conflict not only affects women’s physical and emotional well-being, it can also deprive them of their sense of worth. Many women survivors of war and conflict are unaware of their rights in their families and under communal and national law; others are coerced to accept second-class status at home and in society.

Meet Vestine

Vestine and her sister were the only two members of their family who survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide. At age 21, Vestine entered a common-law marriage with a man who was already married.

  • Over the course of their relationship, Vestine gave birth to three children and lived with her husband and his first wife in a large house, where she earned an income renting out rooms.
    But when her husband died, everything changed–his first wife threw Vestine and her children out of the house.
    When Vestine reached out to, she enrolled in rights-awareness classes, where her trainer helped her discover that she and her children were legally entitled to live in her late husband’s house. Vestine prepared her case, found witnesses and stood up for herself–and her children–in court. And she won.
    Today, Vestine runs a small business in Kigali, using the skills she learned from WfWI’s programs. She has faced unimaginable challenges in her life, but with the help of our rights- awareness training, she knows how to fight back.

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