Nobel Peace Prize laureate dr. Denis Mukwege visits Postcode Lottery Amsterdam

According to the American consultancy firm California Environmental Associates, the Postcode Lotteries are 7th in the top 20 maritime philanthropic funders for the period 2010-2016.

Last Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and international Postcode Lotteries ambassador dr. Denis Mukwege visited the Nationale Postcode Lotterij in Amsterdam. The world-renowned doctor, and noted human rights activist Mukwege travels through Europe, to talk about his new book: 'The Power of Women'.

Photo: Denis Mukwege and Esther Dingemans, co director of the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation (credit: Roy Beusker)

At the heart of Dr. Mukwege’s message are the voices of the many women he and his team have treated over the years: women who have been horribly raped as a weapon of war. In his biography, Mukwege uses individual cases to reassure all survivors that, even if their psychological wounds may never fully heal, they can recover and thrive with the right care and support.

Survivor activists
After studying medicine, Mukwege set up the Panzi hospital in 1999. Since then, he and his team have treated more than 60,000 women: victims of sexual assault and rape. Not only by taking care of the most terrible wounds, but also by guiding them mentally and making them resilient again. Proud even. “Women leave the hospital not as victim but as survivor. Some of them become even activists who talk to leaders from all over the world about their experiences. They claim to be heard, to speak up and tell their story.”

The message of his book is to value the power of women. Mukwege, who we interviewed earlier this year, advocates learning from women's resilience, strength, and power. He also hopes to inspire men to speak out and join the struggle, rather than leaving women to fight the battle alone.

Feminist
In his book Mukwege refers to himself as a feminist. “Being and working closely with many feminists, we are fighting for the same goal. I address men as well, encouraging and guiding them to become allies in the fight against sexual abuse, in war and in peace,” he told during his visit to the Postcode Lottery in Amsterdam.

Traveling is quite an experience for Mukwege since Covid made it impossible for 1.5 years to leave the site of his Panzi hospital in Congo where he is also living for his own safety. Ten years ago he barely survived an attack on his life. Dutch media are highly interested in bringing Mukwege’s story. Newspaper interviews will appear in the coming days, and this Sunday at 12 am he will attend Buitenhof, a Dutch political interview programme.

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Media attention
At the Postcode Lottery office, he said he was flattered by the public attention for his story and his book, but he emphasized that reading his book and listening to his words isn’t enough. A lot of crimes remain unpunished to this day, and the world should act. “Sexual violence against women, whether as a weapon of war or in the domestic sphere, must be banned everywhere. Education, regulation and legislation is the only way to achieve peace, equality and security. We are moving in small steps…but we are going forward. And with all the media attention and the support of the Postcode Lottery, things will get better.”

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  About the book
  The Power of Women, a Doctor’s Story of Hope and Healing,
  by Dr. Denis Mukwege.

  In his biography, Mukwege reflects on his life and the powerful
  women who shaped it. 

  More about this book at the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation.

The Postcode Lottery supports the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation

Denis Mukwege became an international ambassador of the Postcode Lotteries in 2019. In 2016, he founded the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation to promote his treatment method worldwide and to fight against sexual violence. In 2016, the Postcode Lottery gave the foundation a one-off contribution of €500,000.

Since 2017, the foundation has been one of the charities that receive an annual donation from the Nationale Postcode Loterij (€ 900,000 yearly). The contribution will be used to increase aid to the victims in Eastern Congo and for international lobbying and fundraising aimed at putting a stop to sexual violence as a weapon of war. In 2020, the Foundation received an additional contribution of almost €500,000 from the Swedish Postcode Foundation.

Since the start of the partnership, the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation has received €5.5 million from the lotteries, thanks to the millions of players of the Postcode Lotteries.

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Denis Mukwege in Congo