As unjust as it may seem, in cultures that are dominated by men — such as in many parts of Africa — a woman whose husband dies not only loses her spouse, but she also loses the person who would support her financially and protect her from harm as well as grow food. It is often the same case for children. When a boy or girl becomes an orphan, he or she is now totally alone. There are no government programs such as Medicaid or Social Security to help those who have lost the person who provided for them. They are on their own!
Sr. Isabelle Matabaro — a missionary who works with the Missionaries of Africa shares this story about her ministry in the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There, she and other missionary Sisters work to assist women and children who have become widows and orphans as a result of the ongoing wars in their country. In essence, Sr. Isabelle is helping those who are most vulnerable and who desperately need help.
“We educate and train women and children who are victims of the wars in the eastern section of this country,” Sr. Isabelle writes. “They have become widows and orphans. We teach them how to read and write — to become literate. We teach them skills such as dressmaking, tailoring, cooking and gardening . . . things which will enable them to be independent and to live on their own. Additionally, some of our Sisters are counseling the victims of war . . . those whose loved ones have been killed in the war. There is so much to be done.”
“All of those who come to us pitch in to help — everyone uses their skills in one way or another. Those who have advanced skills are teaching those who are less skilled. They all want to help one another.”