In North-Kivu, a province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 25% of the girls aged 15-19 have already given birth (2013/2014 study for Health and Demographics) pregnancies whether due to war rapes, forced or pre-marital relations. Motherhood for the Congolese women is considered shameful if it happens out of an official union. They are rejected by their community and driven by their families. In Goma, the provincial capital, several institutions bring support to the most serious cases of unmarried mothers. Don Bosco boards every year two dozen girls, provides them a house, a basic scholar program and a professional apprenticeship.
At the Heal Africa hospital, sexually assaulted women can enrol in a program to learn sewing and handcrafting. These activities allows the teenage mothers to reconstruct, to socialize within a new community and to prepare for an autonomous life as a woman in the Congolese society.
*Some names have been modified for anonymity reasons.
There is something Leonora has never renounced growing up: her appetite for stories. Very fast, only hearing them wasn’t enough and her interest evolved towards testimonies and translating them into pictures. In 2014, she completed her diploma in documentary pictures and transmedia writing and she did an internship at the daily newspaper “Le Potentiel” in Kinshasa, DRC. At the same time, she started many personal projects and answered demands from different NGO and international media.