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February 25, 2009

A Better Way to Spend Your Lunch Break

USA for Africa

A young boy in Uganda carries water from a well

A young boy bringing water to his family.

Photo Credit: Kate Roberts

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In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 5.4 million people have died in the last 10 years in two civil wars, while brutal rape with bayonets and guns has gone from weapon of war to common civilian street crime. Enter Enough!, the NGO that helped put the Darfur genocide on the map. With its new campaign, Raise Hope for Congo, the international relief organization aims to get the latest worst place in the world on your radar. "How do you destroy a community?" asks Dayle Haddon, ex-model, UNICEF ambassador, and Enough! spokeswoman. "By destroying its women. But the Congolese are fighting back. They've created a women's tribunal to report to the government and the world what has happened; they're building communities where women can protect themselves and teach each other skills and literacy." So as you scarf that recession-proof PB&J at your desk, skip Perez and instead go to raisehopeforcongo.org, where you can register for updates and sign a petition demanding that President Obama pressure Congo's leaders into stopping the violence. As one 15-year-old survivor — who'd spent a month tied to a tree while being repeatedly raped — said to Haddon, "Please, America, we place ourselves in your hands."

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