Deacon Blue stars return from DR Congo to launch SCIAF’s WEE Box appeal
Deacon Blue stars Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross have launched SCIAF’s 2020 WEE BOX BIG CHANGE appeal having just returned from seeing the charity’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This year, the appeal tells the story of how donations from the Scottish public have helped women affected by sexual violence in the troubled eastern region of the DR Congo – an area in which decades of conflict have left a legacy of brutality and lawlessness. Sexual violence and rape are widespread, women’s rights are often discarded, and thousands of women and girls need urgent help.
On their recent trip, Lorraine and Ricky met women SCIAF and its local partners are supporting with medical care, trauma counselling, free legal support to prosecute their attackers and help so they and their families can become financially independent.
This year’s appeal has also received a massive boost from the UK government who will double all public donations given before 20th May.
Speaking at the launch, McIntosh said: “The scale and brutality of sexual violence in eastern DR Congo is extremely disturbing. The lives of thousands of women and their families are being torn apart. It was great to see how money given in Scotland is helping women get the medical treatment, trauma counselling, free legal aid and help to recover and support themselves and their families in the future. The strength and courage of the women I met was truly inspiring, but many more urgently need our help.”
Money given to SCIAF’s WEE BOX BIG CHANGE appeal this year will help the charity’s life changing work around the world, while match funding from the UK government will transform the lives of 4,000 extremely vulnerable women affected by sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ross said: “Years of brutality and conflict in the areas we visited are taking their toll. Women and children are bearing the brunt of this. The money raised from the appeal will allow SCIAF to help thousands more women and girls to get the urgent help they need, and I would urge everyone to please give what you can.”
Alistair Dutton, SCIAF’s Chief Executive, said: “Today thousands of women and girls in the DR Congo continue to be hurt, traumatised, isolated and in urgent need of our help. Their suffering is heart breaking and we must not forget them.
“I’m extremely grateful to Lorraine and Ricky for coming to meet the incredible women we’re working with, see the difference we’re making, and help shed light on this very difficult and disturbing issue. I urge people across Scotland to get their own SCIAF WEE BOX and give what they can. Having Aid Match funding from the UK government is a huge incentive. All donations we receive before the 20th May will be doubled, so people’s support go twice as far!”
To find out more, get your WEE BOX or make a donation see: www.sciaf.org.uk/weebox or call 0141 354 5555.
Picture: Deacon Blue stars Lorraine McIntosh and Ricky Ross at SCIAF’s WEE Box launch event. (Colin Hattersley).