‘Friends’ and ‘Partners’: the latest from ERD

The latest from Episcopal Relief and Development:


Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Elize, a widow and mother of five, lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Struggling to support her family while simultaneously dealing with the loss of her husband and the psychological aftermath of rape, her story is not an unusual one for the region.

The DRC has been plagued by violent conflict and civil strife for over a decade. The situation is haltingly complex – with no one factor that can account for the violence. The struggle over a wealth of natural resources, tensions between ethnic groups and the influence of rebel militia groups from neighboring Rwanda all play a part in this conflict. The situation in the DRC has been described by many as the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history.

Despite the signing of peace accords in 2003, fighting continues in the Eastern region of the DRC and people continue to die at rates comparable to those during the war. According to the New York Times, approximately 45,000 more lives are lost each month.

“However, the violence cannot simply be measured by the number of lives lost,” said Danielle Tirello, Episcopal Relief & Development Program Associate for Africa. “In this region, more than 20,000 women have been affected by the gender-specific violence of sexual assault and are living with the aftereffects of that experience.”

Partnership is critical to Episcopal Relief & Development’s work in settings where the level of need and degree of suffering is as encompassing as in the DRC. In the war-torn Eastern region, Episcopal Relief & Development has worked with the Diocese of Boga to help those in need. One component of the partnership is the creation of the Union des Femmes pour la Paix et la Promotion Sociale (UFPPS), a special ministry designed to reach local women like Elize.


Five-year-old Tyler, who lives in central Pennsylvania, recently sent us a letter about his efforts to help kids living in poverty. “When I heard that there are a lot of children in the world without enough to eat or money to go to school, it made me very sad,” he wrote.

“I asked my grandmothers how I could help and we started ‘Tyler’s Pig Project.’ I took my idea to Father Cliff at our church and he thought it was great.”

With the support of his grandmothers and his church, Tyler launched several fundraisers to purchase pigs for families in need through Episcopal Relief & Development’s Gifts for Life program. He put on an all-you-can-eat fish dinner at a nearby restaurant and sold refreshments at a fishing derby. At his grandmother’s school, Tyler helped keep a snack box filled and sold homemade lunches to the staff each week.

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