Newsletter April 2024

Dear members and friends,

Please find below some brief updates about our work. We are, as ever, always available if you would like more details about any of our projects.


1° Ukraine


  • War crimes: at the beginning of last March, we decided to take on the costs of the legal defence of a 13th victim, Elena (not her real name), a 20 yr old ergo-therapist, from Balakleya. She was kidnapped by two Russian soldiers from her village in broad daylight, taken to a small room, beaten up and raped. Not long afterwards, Elena went to the Russian commander of the local area to file a complaint. On the same day, she was picked up again by 5 soldiers who locked her up, tortured her, beat her up, even forcing a pistol into her mouth to make her sign a withdrawal of her complaint. After Ukrainian forces liberated her village, Elena somehow found the courage to denounce the soldiers responsible. However, she didn’t have access to a lawyer who would be able to start the process of opening a legal case. This is when we, with the help of our associate, the exceptionally courageous M Gennady, were able to intervene. M Genady also has connections with delegates from the International Criminal Court and is working to bring Elena’s and several other cases to The Hague so that they can be tried and judged.

  • Help to refugees in Montengro: from December 2023 until March 2024, 102 Ukrainians (53 adults and 49 minors) have been supplied with provisions, medication, and hygiene products. Art-therapy classes have also been organised for the children. These refugees come from Lougansk, Dniepr,  Kharkiv, Odessa, Zaporojie,  Vinnitsa, Donetsk, Ternopil, Nikolaïev, Krivoy Rog, Irpen, Sumi, Marioupol, Kyiv et Kherson.

A reminder: Ever since the very beginning of the conflict, our movement has been unfailingly giving similar support to Ukrainian refugees in Transnistria, and Poland, as well as displaced people in Ukraine-also in the region of Kharkiv.



2° Syrie

Our local team sent the following:  Ahmed is the 4th child of a humble couple who have been displaced by the fighting. After several years wandering, they returned to their village and by chance found shelter in a house that was lent to them because their own house had been completely destroyed by bombs in this dreadful war.

The ‘house’ has no windows, no doors with only blankets and plastic tarpaulin on the floor. The whole of this large family lives together here. The only furniture is  the thin, sponge mattresses on the ground, used for sitting and sleeping.

The father spends all day searching for bits of plastic to re-sell so that he can buy food for his family



We have, since 2014, been providing milk supplements for babies whose mothers struggle to have enough milk for breastfeeding because of the war and precarious living conditions.

Here is an extract from the Vivere Annual Report, 2022: The rocketing food prices have also affected Syrians, and they are having difficulty putting food on the table.. … the head of Humanitarian Affairs at the UN has stressed  the importance of maintaining the aid corridor to the North-West of Syria via the Turkish border, which at present will stop by the end of the year.

Any hope for an improvement in living conditions for the population as a whole has proved illusory. Even worse, the price of products is rising in direct correlation to decreasing availability.


The amount of support received monthly per child had to be doubled at the end of 2022, going up to 30 000 LS (Syrian Pounds), taking into consideration the ongoing depreciation of the pound (US $1= 800 Syrian Pounds in 2019, increasing to 4 000 Syrian Pounds in 2021, 4 800 in 2022, 14 000 by the end of 2023) as a reaction to the increasing poverty experienced by families.


At the beginning of 2024, 1$ was worth 14 500 Syrian Pounds. Together with our local team, we are constantly re-evaluating how, realistically, we can best adapt what we do to effectively support the children in our project; the help we currently give is 150 000 Syrian Pounds (about 10 CHF, or € 10.27) per month and per child/ family.

At the moment, 30 children are guaranteed food supplements for 4 to 6 months, depending on the age of the new-born when first taken onto the scheme and feasibility of introducing a food complement.

In February, we welcomed 7 new-borns, in addition to the 23 who received supplements the previous month.


3° Burundi

Reminder: Our project supports its 3rd group of 10 female sex workers by creating income generating activities, for destitute women forced into  prostitution;our partner organisation is ‘ Solidarité des femmes pour le bien-être social et le progrès’ SFBSP, Bujumbura (Solidarity to women for social well-being and progress)

Two beneficiaries from the project testify:

  • I was forced into prostitution after the father of my child abandoned us. However, I was able to start selling food items thanks to funds from SFBSP-Burundi-a gift from heaven. I’ve also been able to buy a cow. I’m now able to cover my daily needs and have completely stopped working illegally in prostitution.

  • I was able to start selling women’s and girls’ clothing thanks to a contribution from SFBSP-Burundi. My life has completely changed – I am happy because now I can support my brothers and sisters. We are orphans but now I don’t need to ask anybody for help. I have completely stopped working in prostitution and so am no longer a worthless girl in my family and community.


    5°        Congo RDC


    • South Kivu This is a project conceived with a new partner organisation: the‘Réseau Local de Protection des Civils’ (Local network for the protection of civilians), set up along the banks of Lake Tanganyika in Fizi in the province of South -Kivu and stretches up to the province of Kalemie in Tanganyika. Briefly, this project helps to bolster mechanisms to protect female human rights workers and female journalists in conflict zones before, during and after elections. Last December, three workshops were put on for 50 activists and 20 representatives from local authorities.




    • North Kivu On the 5 March, Vivere and our partner organisation in Goma ‘Protection et Solidarité’ were made aware of the imminent danger and death threats faced by three human rights activists and their families (17 people) in the territory of Masisi. We therefore decided, on the 8 March, to mount a lightning mission to protect and move these peopée out of the area. This project is : Urgent help to the defenders of human rights and journalists taking refuge in the camps for displaced people in Mugunga. Total cost: CHF 2 271 (€ 2 331)

    With reference to the troubling violence raging in this region, Amnesty International Belgium reports: Fighting has intensified in the east of the DRC between the Congolese army and members of the Movement of the 23 March (M23)……..Thousands of civilians are once again caught in the crossfire between both sides and are in urgent need of humanitarian aid especially with the current outbreaks of violence around the town of Goma:


    • Return of the Death Penalty. The Democratic Republic of Congo has decided to reinstate the Death Penalty at a time when there has been a surge of arrests of so-called ‘traitors’ in the east of the country which has been torn apart by war for nearly thirty years. The 2003 moratorium has therefore been lifted by President Félix Tshisekedi. On 13 March, an official circular was sent out, signed by the Minister of Justice, Rose Mutumbo. According to this document, the death penalty will be applied to anybody found guilty of ‘treason and spying’. Politicians, representatives from civil society, citizens’ movements and defenders of human rights have all been vociferous in their condemnation of this decision from Kinshasa. Re-instigating capital punishment ‘takes the country back to the dark years of Mobutism’ according to Claudel Lubaya, former member of parliament, in a post on X (formerly Twitter).  


    Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions or comments.

    With our best consideration,

      Vivere’s committee