Women Who Kick Ass

(46# The Democratic Republic of Congo)  Rose Mapendo: Why she kicks ass
She is human rights activist, who founded Mapendo New Horizons to help vulnerable survivors of physical, psychological, and social trauma caused by decades of extreme violence have easy access to health care and to give them hope. In addition, the Mapendo International organization (whose objective is, among others, to assist the Congolese people to emigrate to United States, for that them can escape of the war in their countries of origin) was name in her honor.
She won The winner of the United Nations’ 2009 Humanitarian of the Year, and along with her role as an international spokeswoman and peace activist, Rose gathers money from resettled refugees in the U.S. and takes it to Africa to distribute among families left behind and those in need. 
Volvo recently recognized Rose with the Volvo for Life Hero Award, for which she was nominated by actress Susan Sarandon. Sarandon, who sits on Mapendo International’s advisory board, also chose Rose as her personal hero for a CNN special about celebrities and their heroes.
Rose Mapendo is the subject of the gripping documentary Pushing the Elephant which airs March 29, 2011 on Independent Lens. This told  the story of the separation between her and Nangabire (her daughter) during the Congolese genocide. The film tries to convey to people the importance of the fight against violence and for your rights.
She was held captive in a military brigade-turned-death camp from 1998 to 2000, and was forced to watch helplessly as her husband was beaten ruthlessly, and with a gun pointed at her temple she desperately clung to her teenage daughter – one of seven children she had with her at the time – fighting and pleading with her captors not to take her as their sex slave. She struggled in darkness and silence as she birthed twins on the waste-covered concrete floor of her cell, afraid of what the guards would do if they heard her cries.  For 16 months, she fought for her family’s survival as they suffered torture, sickness and starvation, simply for being Tutsi, an ethnic group victimized by genocide in Central Africa. 
Even though it seemed unthinkable, Rose named her twins in honor of the commander of the death camp. In Congolese culture, having a child named after you is an incredible honor. Having twins named after you is even more extraordinary. “For a mother to have twins is very special,” Rose says. “If a woman has twins, no one can be mad at her.” When the commander’s wife learned of the babies names, she came to the prison and brought Rose tea, bread and some clothes. A familial connection had been created between Rose’s family and the commander, so he could no longer accept that they would die in his brigade. Instead, he had all of the 32 remaining prisoners transferred to a safe haven in Kinshasa, where it would be up to the president to decide if they were to be killed. “After eight months, they say, ‘You are free. Now you are mother of commanders.’” It was her positive attitude and the ability to forgive those who killed her husband and imprisoned her family that helped Rose keep her children and the other prisoners alive.
She has publicly sharing her story of her journey from from listless prisoner to tireless advocate for peace and refugees in Africa, in hope that others will listen to and remember her story – not for her, but for all the refugees who still need protection.
Since 2005, Rose has been sharing her story across the nation and world, including Africa, addressing the plight of refugees and advocating for their protection. She has spoken at the White House next to former First Lady Laura Bush, at a UN refugee conference in Geneva and alongside celebrities like Ben Affleck and Anderson Cooper at engagements across the U.S. Her hope is to raise awareness and inspire action. She was also was elected by the refugee community in the U.S. as the spokeswoman for peace talks in the Congo. 

(46# The Democratic Republic of Congo)  Rose Mapendo: Why she kicks ass

  • She is human rights activist, who founded Mapendo New Horizons to help vulnerable survivors of physical, psychological, and social trauma caused by decades of extreme violence have easy access to health care and to give them hope. In addition, the Mapendo International organization (whose objective is, among others, to assist the Congolese people to emigrate to United States, for that them can escape of the war in their countries of origin) was name in her honor.
  • She won The winner of the United Nations’ 2009 Humanitarian of the Year, and along with her role as an international spokeswoman and peace activist, Rose gathers money from resettled refugees in the U.S. and takes it to Africa to distribute among families left behind and those in need. 
  • Volvo recently recognized Rose with the Volvo for Life Hero Award, for which she was nominated by actress Susan Sarandon. Sarandon, who sits on Mapendo International’s advisory board, also chose Rose as her personal hero for a CNN special about celebrities and their heroes.
  • Rose Mapendo is the subject of the gripping documentary Pushing the Elephant which airs March 29, 2011 on Independent Lens. This told  the story of the separation between her and Nangabire (her daughter) during the Congolese genocide. The film tries to convey to people the importance of the fight against violence and for your rights.
  • She was held captive in a military brigade-turned-death camp from 1998 to 2000, and was forced to watch helplessly as her husband was beaten ruthlessly, and with a gun pointed at her temple she desperately clung to her teenage daughter – one of seven children she had with her at the time – fighting and pleading with her captors not to take her as their sex slave. She struggled in darkness and silence as she birthed twins on the waste-covered concrete floor of her cell, afraid of what the guards would do if they heard her cries.  For 16 months, she fought for her family’s survival as they suffered torture, sickness and starvation, simply for being Tutsi, an ethnic group victimized by genocide in Central Africa. 
  • Even though it seemed unthinkable, Rose named her twins in honor of the commander of the death camp. In Congolese culture, having a child named after you is an incredible honor. Having twins named after you is even more extraordinary. “For a mother to have twins is very special,” Rose says. “If a woman has twins, no one can be mad at her.” When the commander’s wife learned of the babies names, she came to the prison and brought Rose tea, bread and some clothes. A familial connection had been created between Rose’s family and the commander, so he could no longer accept that they would die in his brigade. Instead, he had all of the 32 remaining prisoners transferred to a safe haven in Kinshasa, where it would be up to the president to decide if they were to be killed. “After eight months, they say, ‘You are free. Now you are mother of commanders.’” It was her positive attitude and the ability to forgive those who killed her husband and imprisoned her family that helped Rose keep her children and the other prisoners alive.
  • She has publicly sharing her story of her journey from from listless prisoner to tireless advocate for peace and refugees in Africa, in hope that others will listen to and remember her story – not for her, but for all the refugees who still need protection.
  • Since 2005, Rose has been sharing her story across the nation and world, including Africa, addressing the plight of refugees and advocating for their protection. She has spoken at the White House next to former First Lady Laura Bush, at a UN refugee conference in Geneva and alongside celebrities like Ben Affleck and Anderson Cooper at engagements across the U.S. Her hope is to raise awareness and inspire action. She was also was elected by the refugee community in the U.S. as the spokeswoman for peace talks in the Congo. 
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