In our final blog of #smallcharityweek, I get to talk about Butoke, a small NGO which works in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with some of the poorest people on the planet.
We support Butoke because of the inspirational Paul Evans. Paul is a byrneˑdeaner; he was for many years one of the lynchpins of our Resolution team – doing great investigation work. He left us to become a Judge and he’s also a trustee of the charity, spending probably a day a week on its affairs. I have always seen byrneˑdean as a platform for great people to do good things (and vice versa). That’s not just in the day-to-day work that we do. Paul is a truly good man supporting a charity doing great things in the DRC. All of the money raised goes straight out to the DRC because PauI funds the costs of the charity in the UK, such as they are.
The charity runs several schools, looks after orphaned children, provides basic healthcare and feeds the malnourished and starving who come through its doors. It also runs a food security programme. Paul approached us in 2020 to support the Justice Project. Butoke provides assistance to the victims of sexual violence, in particular it provides legal assistance (without which the cases would not be prosecuted) and medical care.
Paul updated me this week. In its first year or so the project has helped 7 girls (he thinks they were all under 18) who had been raped. Butoke paid for their lawyer (charges don’t get filed if you don’t at a certain point use a lawyer), paid for their medical care, provided them with some food and clothing to get them going afterwards, and in some cases relocated them to different villages. There is a degree of post-attack protection.
He also asked me if byrneˑdean could take over funding the project in its entirety. I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to get the Board to agree to that this week. Hopefully we can provide a similar level of support. If Butoke are amenable, we’d like to name the project after my cousin Elsa Corp who was sexually assaulted and murdered in 2010. She is often in my mind and somehow this feels like a good thing to attach her memory to.
For Paul, this means that he can focus his efforts on funding the charity’s main project for this year: they have built a new maternity unit in a community which is far from their other clinics. Other donors built a school there for Butoke last year and Dr Jean, who leads the charity, ended up helping women deliver babies by the roadside with no facilities when he was out there checking on the building work. The local village gave the land, cleared it and provided some free labour so for about $15k the building is pretty much done, but they’re going to run short when it comes to equipping it.
Paul estimates that they need perhaps £10,000 for that to happen. If you would like to help with equipping the unit, please get in touch with Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org He will be very pleased to hear from you.
To find out more about Butoke, please visit: The Friends of Butoke Charity