Fierce Women Fight for Animal Safety

In a country where being a woman may put you at a disadvantage more often times than not, also comes the victory stories of the women who push past their hardships to inspire others and overcome and often at times exceed expectations. The women in the Democratic Republic of Congo have pushed past societies challenges for the greater good. Here the women fight for animal safety.

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Home to more than 25% of the world’s mountain gorilla population is Virunga National Park—and it needs protecting. The rangers of the park have taken on this responsibility, taking on armed poachers, antigovernment rebels, coal smugglers and native tribes that threaten the gorilla’s daily. Upward of 150 rangers have suffered fatalities in the past decade.

And now, the women are on the front lines. The job training is rigorous and it wasn’t until two years ago (2014) that any women completed the training; however, those that have are now serving as ambassadors for all of the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Photographer Monique Jaques went to the National Park to tell these women’s stories through a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation. Her journey proved inspirational. A story in the Huffington Post quotes her, “…for me they were emblematic of so much of Congo; they overcame the odds—civil war, lack of education and family structure, no real female models…”

It warms the heart and inspires the soul when we see victory coming out of the ashes. These brave rangers stand as an example of strength and dedication in the face of all odds.

You can view photos from Monique’s photo shoot here.

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