From Brothel Owner to Women’s Empowerment Champion
As a brothel owner, Josephine Namba Balikwisha made as much money in a week as her neighbors in Bulongo, DRC, made in a year. Then Ushindi came to town, promoting equality, health, and empowerment for women. Josephine, always seeking opportunity, immediately joined the noyaux, a community-based group that spreads Ushindi messages and activities throughout the village.
It took a month for her to realize that although her business gave her personal wealth and power, it violated the rights of other women. Despite the protests of her patrons and her own children, Josephine closed her business and began escorting minors from the brothel back to their families.
Through Ushindi, Josephine has become one of the biggest champions for women’s empowerment and conflict management in her village.
“Ushindi freed me from the bad air I was living in. Even though I lost my high income, my spirit feels calm and I feel strong. Everyone calls me the USHINDI Woman,” she says proudly.