Faraja is 22 years old. She is petite with haunting dark eyes and a quiet demeanor. She speaks softly so I have to strain to hear her. Looking at her, she appears to me to be somewhat timid. I could almost imagine that she is another victim of the conflict in Congo. But when she speaks, I understand why she is here. “I have always wanted to be a journalist. Even as a young girl, I would steal my father’s radio to listen to the news. He would punish me but it was worth it.” For a young woman to have a career as a journalist is almost unthinkable in Congo — especially in the rural areas. A woman professional is an anomaly but a radio reporter is unheard of. Outside the cities, there are very few radios in the home and if there is one, it is the sole property of the man — often locked up when he has finished listening to it. This unassuming young woman is one of the women who are beginning to break down barriers and demand their place and their voice at the table. Today, thanks to a program that has been developed by AFEM-SK, the South Kivu Women’s Media Association, Faraja is among the 22 young women who are realizing their dream to become reporters. AFEM is a local organization that works for the advancement of Congolese women by, in part, training women in rural villages to become radio journalists. The training that teaches them all aspects of reporting including finding and interviewing sources, doing interviews, and even discussing ethics and guidelines of journalism. (some of which, we could use to train our journalist at home). AFEM is one of the few organizations to produce community radio broadcasts. With its support, communities actually record the entire broadcast in rural areas. The goal is also to give a voice to women in very remote areas as these women are especially vulnerable to discrimination and sexual violence. AFEM believes that adding their voice in the widespread media is essential for affecting change. For the last eight months, Faraja has been working as a reporter at a radio station in Babusa. She was working there as a secretary when she heard about the AFEM training project and asked her boss if he would recommend her. He agreed. Faraja was interviewed and accepted. She completed the training and now instead of working as a secretary, she is a full reporter doing stories on such difficult subjects as gender based violence. In fact, for one of her first stories, she interviewed rape victims as well as the perpetrators. She ended her piece by reading the law on gender based violence. ChouChou is the Executive Director of AFEM-SK. She too had a dream to be a journalist and before working at AFEM, she was a reporter at a radio station for 10 years. She hard no formal training and had to learn everything on he job. It is for this reason that she knows how important training can be. She also wants to see that women receive news and information since she estimated that only about 40 per cent currently do. We asked her if there was any danger for the women by reporting in their villages. She said that since the program started in 2010, two women have had their lives threatened. She was quick to add that since no one is certain who made the threat, she can not definitively say that it was a result of their work; however, the implication is clear. Faraja has not had it completely easy either. She said that when she returns to her village, she is treated with mistrust. She has flaunted convention by leaving the village to follow her heart and therefore some in the community feel, she must be morally corrupt. But nothing deters her. And there is one person in particular in her village who is very proud of her — her father. At times, ChouChou seems overwhelmed by the job ahead of her and AFEM. As we have realized perhaps more pointedly on this trip, there is a very long way to go in Congo to change and improve cultural beliefs and standards. The sexual violence comes as a result of many factors not the least of which is a very clear and resounding disrespect for women. But when we ask about this, Shu Shu replies that she finds hope in the women with whom she works and whom they train. As she said, “they are strong. They want to work. Change will come through the women.” With women like Faraja and ChouChou working for Congo, I have no doubt that she is correct but before that can happen, there will be a great deal for Faraja and the other journalists to report.