Embargoed until: 1.00pm (GMT) Sunday 9 June 2019
#YellowSunday 2019 aims to raise £400, 000 in tuition fees for 1000 Congolese women living in conflict and post conflict zone to train as nurses in one day
(London, Sunday 9 June 2019) — Catapulting off the success of last year’s #YellowSunday, the 2019 #YellowSunday, taking place on 23 June, launches today to raise £400, 000 in one day to support 1, 000 women living in conflict and post-conflict zones in Congo to train as nurses.
Held globally every June, #YellowSunday is an annual, one-day, Congolese–led initiative dedicated to mobilising people across the globe, first, to wear something yellow in solidarity with Congolese women, their families, communities and country; second, to take a picture of their yellow outfit and upload it on social media to spread public awareness – and, for the first time this year, to donate £10; €10, $10 or whatever they can in aid of Congolese women living in conflict and post-conflict zones.
“Our ambition is quite big,” said Dr Denis Mukwege, the Congolese doctor and the 2018 Nobel Peace winner. “We want to help support, train and empower 1, 000 Congolese women to train as nurses,” added Mukwege. “Think of this as our attempt to help bend the arc of gender balance (especially given the scale and scope in which Congolese women have been brutalised in wars and conflicts that continue to tyrannise Congo) a little further toward gender justice,” added Mukwege
Congo is facing a health crisis we can no longer ignore
With an estimated population of 80 million, Africa’s third largest after Nigeria and Ethiopia, Congo –– the former Belgian colony Joseph Mobutu renamed Zaire in 1971, Laurent Kabila baptised Congo in 1998 and the UN has labelled the worse place to be a woman –– is believed to have an estimated 28,789 nurses; one of the lowest in the world. The situation is made worse by fighting and mass displacement that killed over 5.4 million Congolese between 1998 and 2008 and left more wounds on the bodies of Congolese women than on the streets and buildings of that country. According to statisticians, 45, 000 Congolese continue to die each month (half of them small children) due to conflicts, and preventable diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid and tuberculosis –– making the need to improve Congo’s ability to fight treatable diseases all the more urgent.
“Training a nurse in Congo costs on average $400 a year,” explained Trish Balusa, #YellowSunday’s manager “Which means we need $400, 000 for the 1, 000 Congolese women we want to support; and whilst this sum may seem considerable, it should be compared to the cost of training one nurse over three years in the UK, which is approximately £50,000,” added Balusa.
Facebook, Instagram or Tweet your Congo support!
The idea behind this campaign is simple: we want to engage 40, 000 people online to put on their favourite yellow dress, yellow shirt, socks, nails or yellow tie on #YellowSunday: Sunday 23 June 2019 in solidarity with Congolese women, upload their picture online to help spread awareness and then donate £10; €10 or $10 each, or whatever they can, to support 1, 000 Congolese women living in conflict and post–conflict zones to train as nurses.
To donate: https://www.gofundme.com/YellowSunday19
“This is more than a fundraising,” said Balusa. “This is a political act because in Congolese mythology, yellow symbolises wealth – and the greatest wealth Congo has is its women, the backbone Congolese society, whose suffering seem to go unnoticed,” Balusa continued.
“By going yellow – or encouraging others to go yellow”, Mukwege explained, “you are joining a community of campaigners and extraordinary people across the globe adding their voices to those of Congolese women calling for justice to protect their families and communities; opportunities to help improve their country’s ability to fight treatable diseases and to save millions lives each year, and pushing for gender equality help Congo recover from injuries it has endured over the past 20 years.”
For interviews or further information about #YellowSunday or Congo please contact: Trish Balusa; Email: email@example.com; IG/Twitter: @YellowSundayCD
Note to the editor
About Dr Denis Mukwege
Dr Denis Mukwege is a world-renowned Congolese gynaecologist, human rights activist and Nobel Peace laureate. He has become the world’s leading specialist in the treatment of wartime sexual violence and a global campaigner against the use of rape as a weapon of war.
About Trish Balusa
Trish Balusa is a British-Congolese activist and actress.
- Congo has been identified by WHO as a country with a critical health manpower shortage (WHO 2006).
- Malaria is highly endemic in DRC. Surveys have shown that fever is associated with 40% of child deaths and a significant proportion of mortality at all ages. This implies annual deaths of 150-250,000 under-five children due to the disease.
- Eighty percent of its population lives on only US$0.50 per day and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at less than US$l00, is among the lowest in the world.
- It is estimated that 4.2 million under-five children are malnourished in DRC, 362,000 infants die before their first birthday, over half a million under-five children die annually, 36,000 mothers die in childbirth annually