I am Petronella and I am a resilient woman because..

My name is Petronella I have been an activist/advocate for women and children who face violence since I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I ran my own organization there.

How long have you been living in this area? Please share with us about your journey coming here. I have been living in Washington state for 7 months. I moved to the US because I couldn’t express myself anymore in my home country Congo. I was targeted because I was fighting against violence against women and children. The fear of being targeted brought me to the US as an asylee.

What type of challenges in your life contributed to you becoming a resilient woman?  Because of the war in the Congo, I became a resilient woman because I saw women and children being sexually assaulted by military members. This is something that no one should have to experience. It motivated me to work hard and that’s why I have a nonprofit back home that continues to fight against all the violence that women and children face. And living in the US too makes me resilient. I am alone here, I came without any family members. I discovered nonprofits that support women, including Mother Africa, that continues to help me when I need assistance, since I am still homeless (living in someone else's apartment).

What do you love most about Mother Africa? What motivates you to be a part of Mother Africa events and activities? When I discovered Mother Africa with Risho’s help, I felt better felt safe and welcomed. I felt like home. This is home. When you are alone and you don’t know anyone, attending events with other African women like the ones they have at Mother Africa, that makes you realize that you are not alone.

What is your hope for the future of Mother Africa, yourself and your fellow resilient women? Mother Africa works with women the same as I also work with women back home, so I would like to get more involved with Mother Africa. I hope that Mother Africa continues to get more funding in order to help this diverse community, so they can continue making other women also feel welcomed and at home.

Interview conducted and translated from French by Mother Africa Program Assistant, Florette Ebengho