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Machozi (meaning “tears”) came to the Mama Lynn Center at only 14 years old – an orphan and one of the youngest victims to show up at the Center. The Women Arise from Stigma workshop had just finished when I walked outside and met her.

Now part of the second official class at the Center, Machozi sits tentatively by another 14-year old whose wounds are so pronounced, she has only been able to walk again recently. Here, they both will learn that they are “God’s beloved. Nothing and no one can ever take that away from you.” The stigma that limits women after rape is being dispelled, as community is rebuilt.

As I sat next to Machozi just outside the Center’s entrance, I asked, “If you could give yourself any name, what would it be?” She quickly turned to me and said, “I want you to name me.” I wasn’t sure what to do.

Not to be taken lightly, Rev. Dr. Betty Kazadi Musau said, “Think about it.”

The Mama Lynn Center is meant to bring hope to all those who enter. Supporting women with community – sometimes serving in place of their own family – is not taken lightly, and one can tell that this young lady has taken on a role of sister to other survivors – helping them along the way.

A group of us talked through possible names, until we settled on Tumaini or “Hope.”

A big smile came over her face as she first heard her name.

At the end of the workshop, all participants were anointed with oil and blessings. I was anointed by Hope. The uncertain movements of her small finger upon my forehead are now etched in my heart.

May Hope find ever-increasing light in her life.

You can help the Mama Lynn Center with your prayers and offerings.  If you would like to provide support for completion of the buildings and the Center’s programming, donate to Congo Women Arise now!

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