Wilmington Women Travel to Africa to Help Others

WILMINGTON -- In the African Congo, there are hundreds of women who have been raped, many who now have AIDS.

The stories of those women touched the hearts of two women from Wilmington. Now, those women have gone to the war-torn African nation to help.

Rhonda Tabbiner's 23-year-old daughter, Robin, and her friend, Wendy Merritt, traveled to the Congo in August with the help of the Port City Church.

Robin has been sending her mother pictures, documenting her work with a missionary group called Answering the Call.

The group provides assistance to women and children who are victims of rape.

"They're giving these people back their dignity. They're looking them in the eyes and they're acknowledging that you're a human being who's gone through such brutality, that nobody should ever endure," Rhonda said.

In Wilmington, a fundraising effort is underway, called "The Julie Project" in honor of a 5-year-old girl who was raped two years ago.

The group has organized a benefit concert at Thalian Hall in November, in hopes of raising $60,000 for a Julie Project shelter to help women find their strength.

"They'll teach them sewing and different skills, so then, after a year or so, they'll be able to go back into the community and be able to provide for themselves," Rhonda said.

While Robin and Wendy are providing hands-on help, Rhonda said that anyone can make a difference - even from thousands of miles away.

For more information, visit http://www.answeringthecall.org/

Reported by Nicole Ferguson