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a story of how it all started

The vision to start ECPA was inspired by Esperance M. Kayitesi’s personal life experience:

In the year 2002, Esperance relocated to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from Namibia when a new job opportunity presented itself. It was during this time that a civil conflict arose between Rwanda and the DRC. As a Rwandese living in the DRC, it had not occurred to her that the conflict between the two countries would eventually affect her professionally.

In the span of a few months, Esperance had settled into her new role as the Secretary General of a particular organization she was working for and even hired an assistant. Time went by and life was simple and normal until one day while in the office, Esperance received a phone call from a friend of hers who she responded to in Kinyarwanda (the native language of Rwanda) and unbeknownst to her, her assistant was listening to her phone conversation. When Esperance finally hung up the phone, her assistant asked her if she was from Rwanda. Esperance responded with a “Yes” and explained that her Rwandese background is from her father’s side. Little did she know that this answer would cost her everything, that moment marked the beginning of a dark life that she was not prepared for.

After their conversation, Esperance’s assistant took it upon herself to inform security services in the DRC that she was a spy. The following morning, Esperance was taken to the “Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR)” or the National Intelligence Agency. Later, she was taken and imprisoned in Makala Prison located in Kinshasa.

Esperance at the time, was a single mother of two children. She was grateful that one of her friends took them in and took care of them. However, while in prison, Esperance had lost all hope. One day, God sent a Pastor to minister to her as part of his church’s outreach program. The purpose of the outreach program was not only to minister to prisoners but also to help them with food and medical bills. After one year, by God’s grace, the pastor was able to get her out of prison.

After she got out of prison, Esperance made a vow to God to give back by helping other prisoners. To this day, every time she helps prisoners be it through her counseling services, financially or through other programs, she always sees this as her fulfilling her promise to God. Every time she visits prisons, she feels very joyful and happy that she has the privilege to bring smiles to prisoners’ faces during difficult times in incarceration.

If the story of how the vision to start ECPA resonates with you and you would like to support us, please visit our GoFundMe fundraiser page and donate to this initiative. Donations received through the fundraiser will go towards increasing the impact of our programs which aim to develop capacity and improve access to healthcare and social amenities to women in conflict with the law and their children. Your generosity is truly appreciated.

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