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July 28. 2013 9:15PM

Manchester woman joins effort to raise awareness about Congo

A Manchester woman who lived most of her life in the Democratic Republic of Congo, suffering years of abuse, deprivation and rape, will be traveling to California for a ritual at Lake Tahoe on Aug. 25, as swimmers across the nation join CongoSwim 2013, a collective call to action on the deadly conflict and humanitarian crisis in the African nation.

Coco Ramazani, recently featured in a New Hampshire Union Leader article, is the subject of a recent book on the crisis titled “Tell This to My Mother,” by Joseph E. Mwantuali.

Ramazani will take part in a healing ceremony on the pilot boat while CongoSwim founder Keris Dahlkamp attempts to swim 22 miles across Lake Tahoe, which is expected to take him 12 to 14 hours.

Ramazani will also be speaking in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CongoSwim 2013 will take place worldwide on Aug. 25, as swimmers at all levels swim to raise awareness of the disaster in eastern Congo.

Nunu Kidane, the director of Priority Africa Network, who was recognized as a “Champion of Change” by the White House, will be swimming in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Other CongoSwim events around the country include a swim by Charles Chapman of New York, the first African-American to swim the English Channel, along with various Girl Scout troops, college varsity swimmers and senior citizens who have registered swims in their communities. Families can register their child’s swim lessons or participation on a swim team with CongoSwim.

The awareness campaign was organized by volunteers in observance of Orange Day, a call to action by the United Nations to end violence against women and girls.

There is no registration fee, but participants are encouraged to raise funds for the Congolese groups receiving grants from Global Fund for Women and Friends of the Congo. A portion of the funds raised will also benefit the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a Splash” initiative to prevent children from drowning in the U.S.

Registrants receive a “Swim Pack” with sample fundraising letters and facts about the Congo, as well as tips for talking with children about injustice.

For more information, visit congoswim.org.


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