In 2008, when celebrities brought significant funds and media coverage to Darfur. Exposing Hope decided to shift our focus to the underreported war in eastern DRC and the rampant sexual violence.
Alissa visited North Kivu in early 2009 to document the situation of women and meet with several organizations as potential partners for Exposing Hope. She chose HEAL Africa, a private hospital with a humanitarian/development arm based in the eastern capital of Goma.
Through HEAL Africa, Exposing Hope focused on building safe houses for survivors of sexual violence and funding programming to help them rebuild their lives.
From 2009 - 2014, Exposing Hope held five photography exhibitions and four fundraising events in San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, as well as, conducting several successful online fundraising campaigns. Alissa’s images from DR Congo have been seen in dozens of publications, her work featured by humanitarian agencies and a wide array of international and local organizations.
Through our partner in the North Kivu Province, HEAL Africa, we have built five safe-houses for survivors of sexual violence. These safe-houses not only provide refuge for over 2,300 women, they also offer counseling; small business trainings - sewing, gardening, bread-making; and micro-loans.
Through our partner in the South Kivu Province, Centre Kitumaini, we purchased two acres of land, giving over 100 women plots on which to farm, and provided soap-making training to 300 women.
In addition to working with HEAL Africa, Alissa’s work in the field has given her invaluable access to the women running the programs; many of whom have sought out Alissa’s assistance in planning projects and budgets. HEAL Africa and Exposing Hope maintain and transparent dialogue in both French and English to ensure that reporting is regular, clear and consistent with the standards expected. It has truly been a rewarding process both organizations.