From the 15th of July, XFM is running Warchild week. If you’re a regular listener you know we’ve done a lot of work together, you and us, raising money for their incredible work around the world. I spent some time the other day, learning about some of the projects the money has been spent on, specifically in Africa and The Middle East. It was at points a really tough listen, but the solution, which we’re now all a part of, is truly humbling. I thought I’d include one of the stories I heard, in the hope that you get an idea of why we’re dedicating a week to Warchild, and why their work is so important, now more than ever.
As a side, you raised nearly £25,000 during the Mumford and Sons competition alone. All of which is going straight to the projects you’ll hear about in the next week on XFM.
This is Anne Theresa story…
In Goma, eastern Congo, rebel and government forces are routinely using rape as a weapon of war.
Imagine the fear a parent would feel by sending out their daughter to collect water, knowing she faces the possibility of rape.
Anne Theresa is 15 years old. One day, on her way to collect water she was met by a group of soldiers. She said:
“One of the soldiers told me to go with him, I was afraid he was going to kill me. He asked me if I was wearing underwear, I answered yes. He told me to take them off, which I did. He raped me and then he gave me back my jerry can and ordered me to collect water for him. I didn’t, I ran home. I told my uncle what happened and he told me that we had to go to hospital.”
Anne Therese suffered so badly that she would wet herself uncontrollably. She stopped going to school because the other children would laugh and make fun of her. She had terrible nightmares. Whenever she saw a man, especially a soldier, she would remember what happened to her as clearly as if she was reliving her ordeal over and over again.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to give what you can during Warchild week. Don’t worry if you can’t. Just listening, and passing on these stories to people who can help is enough.