Jeanne M. Gacoreke – Burundi

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

Jeanne Gacoreke (49) is a teacher in Bujumbura. She helps orphans and widows of war and sexually abused women, fights poverty and reintegrates refugees within the country and those from abroad. In her Maison d’écoute, victims of war and sexual violence receive physical and psychological help and legal advice. Thanks to her initiative, the local radio has been presenting women’s personal stories about rape, thereby raising the public awareness on their plight. Jeanne is trained in psycho-pedagogy, peaceful conflict resolution and modern communication technology.

She says: “My dream is slowly becoming reality. At last rape victims are finding a way out of shame and silence. They are speaking up”.

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Sorry, I can not find any photo of Jeanne M. Gacoreke, Burundi in the internet (see also my comment ‘Brave women without photos‘).

She works for Union des Groupements et Association pour la Promotion de la Femme (named on Urgent Action Fund, scroll down).

Her village, a poor quarter on the outskirts of Bujumbura, has been destroyed four times in the last ten years. Each time the village has been rebuilt. Twice she had to take a bank loan to rebuild her own house. After the fourth attack, she remained in exile in order to spare her children the sight of dead bodies. But she helped the women of the village to rebuild their homes and eventually returned.

One day, when Jeanne Gacoreke’s 70 years old neighbor was raped, she secretly brought her to the hospital, because the rapists, whether from the military or the rebels, do not appreciate witnesses. Soon after that a 12 years old girl was raped. Again Jeanne took her to the hospital. With the help of European friends, these victims were treated, but as the number of rape victims increased, there was not enough money. Eventually International organizations and other women recognized Jeanne’s individual assistance and helped her develop a health center for women.

Among other there is a counseling center for the victims of sexual violence and steps are undertaken to reintegrate them socially as rape victims are ostracised from society. At the same time Jeanne sensitizes and persuades women who were raped to speak up, even on the radio, as she is trained in interviewing victims of sexual violence. Thus she now tries to help them to overcome their trauma.

Today, 2005, the traditionally shunned topic of rape has been exposed. Jeanne’s work has made people more aware and sensitive. This she does at her own risk, because rapists bay for revenge. The center is open to all women and victims of war, regardless of ethnic background, and is now supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Because the offenders threaten her and her family Jeanne Gacoreke left her children in exile. She herself was arrested because of her work and her denunciation of rapists, and now lives in hiding. But Jeanne Gacoreke’s work is in the limelight, because she took the initiative when others were not even aware of the problem of sexual violence.

he established structures to help victims of sexual violence at the risk of her own life. Thanks to her, many women no longer live in poverty and are united beyond their diverse ethnic backgrounds. Young rape victims get health care, social justice and rejoice. Women, who have been helped by her or by others in her network, have increasingly united to help themselves. (1000peacewomen).

Sorry, beside the fact to be named for the Nobel Peace Price, I found no mention of Jeanne M. Gacoreke, Burundi in the internet.

links:

Microcredit summit campaign;

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights;

Sponsor Organisations (for ETHIOPIA, GHANA, MALI, SENEGAL).

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