The Democratic Republic of Congo has been plagued by violence for decades. Equal Exchange founded the Congo Coffee Project with the Panzi Foundation as a means to bring Congolese coffee to market in the United States and raise awareness about the alarming rate of sexual violence that takes place everyday.
Sexual violence has affected thousands of people in the Congo over the last two decades, and for women, men and children in need of medical attention there are not many options; they are sometime ostracized, abandoned or ignored with no where to go. Survivors of sexual violence seek refuge and assistance at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, DRC, a bustling place with more than 360 staff and thousands of visitors each year. The hospital treats patients with various ailments, but has become known as a safe place for survivors of sexual violence to seek treatment and heal from their trauma. Survivors in other areas outside of Bukavu are also able to receive holistic health services at "one-stop centers" like Bulenga, where they can access medical treatment, psychosocial care, and community re-integration and legal services.
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