St. Catharine’s raises awareness of African femicide

Students lobbied to increase assistance to the victims of ‘femicide.’

St. Catharine Academy has made a world of difference in the lives of the women and children in Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. DRC rape is being used as a weapon of war.  It has obliterated over 5.1 million women already and is being called a “femicide.”  Though the school is a long way from DRC, the student body has been in fund raising frenzy ever since the beginning of the school year.  An article on the inhumane sexual mutilation and rape of women and children given as an English writing assignment sparked such sincere passion in the students that they were compelled to offer whatever help they could.  From lollipop sales, bake sales, sponsor donations, even sweet sixteen party monies, the St. Catharine student body is putting its Mercy Values into practice.  Funds from the School’s International Show in February accounted for most of the monies raised—over $5,000—and donations are still coming.

On March 30, 31 and April 1, 20 students traveled to Washington, D.C. to encounter the experience of a lifetime.  They had the opportunity to align their fund raising with many organizations such as Congo Global Action and Women to Women International and attend conferences at the Holocaust Museum on DRC awareness. They also had the opportunity to present their check to their hero, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a surgeon at Panzi Hospital, who heals these women and children daily to help give them back some semblance of a normal life.  The students also lobbied to increase assistance to these women and met with Joshua Williams, Legislative Aide to Senator Hillary Clinton. 

This summer, students will attend the Mercy Leadership Conference and will brainstorm the next action steps for this cause.  The School’s Mercy Day in September will include a walk for the DRC, more in-school service work, and possibly a guest speaker from Women to Women International. The students are even trying to communicate with the women of Panzi Hospital in a pen pal effort. 

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