Angels & Doves visits AVIPA
On September 28th, 2009, in Conakry, Guinea, the military opened fire on a protest rally of 50,000 opposition party members who had gathered to raise their voices against the iron-fisted president and military coup victor, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. Eyewitnesses reported soldiers individually emptying two clips into the crowd as protestors ran for their lives. Those who hid in the stadium's bathroom stalls and lockers were dragged out, killed, and raped; those who ran were shot in the back. When the carnage was over, the confirmed death toll was over 150, and the injured numbered well over 1000.
Of all of the terrible ramifications of the massacre, one particularly long-lasting one has been the out-casting of the protestors who were raped by the soldiers. Many of the women who attended the rally were raped, beaten, disfigured, and otherwise violated and could not return to their communities because of the heavy stigma attached to rape victims. With no support from their friends and family, many of these women have nothing standing between them and poverty and are vulnerable to further disgraces. Enter AVIPA, an organization born from the bloody ashes of the massacre and still standing firm several years later.
The AVIPA (Association of Victims, Parents, and Friends of September 28th, 2009) was founded by Mme Asmaou Diallo. Mme Diallo, although not in attendance that fateful day at the stadium, tragically lost her 33-year-old son who died in the fray. Reaching out for support herself, Mme Diallo found in the women survivors kindred spirits of loss and even hope. Inspired by what they had been through, Mme Diallo created AVIPA to intervene in the shunning and ostracization that the women were going through, and provide a means through which the women could regain their footing and move forward. Today, AVIPA welcomes the women survivors of September 28th, provides them with practical skills training, and supports them as they rebuild their lives. AVIPA's mission is the social reintegration of women who were raped, traumatized, and tortured during the events of September 28th, 2009 through the arts of soap-making and cloth dyeing.
In October, 2012, Fabrice Soffack, Executive Director of the Angels & Doves Foundation, visited Mme Diallo and her organization. While on a professional visit to Guinea, Mr. Soffack spent a considerable portion of his time with Mme Diallo and AVIPA, listening to their stories and observing the women there working hard to reclaim the normalcy they had once had. By the end of his visit, Mr. Soffack and Mme Diallo had forged a firm conviction that their respective organizations could benefit greatly from each other.
Angels & Doves is excited to announce its new partnership with AVIPA, and is looking forward to assisting the organization as they can. Angels & Doves has committed to help fund and support two of AVIPA's victims for 2013, and is passionate about sharing these two women's stories as examples of the good that AVIPA is achieving. The training and rehabilitation of these women is integral to their success and therefore their country's and continent's progress; Angels & Doves could not be happier than to proudly support AVIPA in achieving its mission.
For more pictures about Angels & Doves' recent visit at AVIPA, please visit http://www.facebook.com/angelsanddovesfoundation and to support us, please go on our website or our facebook page to donate.
By Katrin Patterson