This text was compiled from an interview with Aline Binyungu, the founder and director of Women’s Refugee Care. The interview was conducted on 5 December 2017 by Aliosha Bielenberg and Jeanelle Wheeler, both students at Brown University. The interview was conducted in French and has been translated, condensed, and edited for clarity.
Aline Binyungu at her home in Providence. Photo credit: Andrew Robbin.
In your opinion, what are the roles of men and women in the Congolese community? Are these different between Rhode Island and the DRC? As the director of the WRC, what is your vision of woman’s role?
I’m not sure if I fully understood your question, but I will try to respond. Since the time of our ancestors, women have been the most venerable throughout the world. I myself am a woman. I grew up in a family where my mother didn’t have much value in the eyes of my father. Women were always forgotten and never had a seat at the table. They weren’t always consulted for great decisions in my culture – Congolese culture, African culture. I had the chance to study. It was really a chance – most of the women we have here in Rhode Island, they don’t even know how to write their name. This makes my heart heavy [me fait mal au coeur], it makes me want to cry. If you don’t know how to read and write, you can’t really work. This morning I was at the pharmacy with a woman to help her get her medicine. Someone who can’t even read her name won’t be able even to find her insurance [attirance] card among a stack of documents. She has to