Asandé is derived from the Zulu word Azande which means ‘abundance’ or ‘let there be more’ and the Congolese meaning ‘a people who posess much land’, with both meanings in mind we named our brand such because we are all about creating more for the people of DRC, especially survivors of sexual violence.
We exist to help restore and rebuild the lives of those tormented by war in the DRC. As a social business we give away 30% of our profits to Panzi Hospital, Bukavu to support their work with women on the ground in East Congo.
Here, women are cared for medically, emotionally and supported and empowered through learning new skills. Through the City Of Joy women are given the opportunity to receive 6 months rehabilitation before going back to their communities or starting out somewhere new. The toll on women suffering such atrocities leaves them psychologically scarred, disempowered and often alone, abandoned by their husbands. The City of Joy works on their self-esteem and offers training as an artisan. They are encouraged to start their own micro-enterprise and provide for their families.
We believe empowering women through business is the most effective way to create a brighter future for women in need. Through each purchase of our jewellery we are able to help fund Panzi’s efforts on the ground in East Congo.
The ongoing conflict, violence and displacement in the Congo is often referred to as ‘the most forgotten crisis of our time’. We want to recognise and draw attention to the suffering in this country and provide a response for those who would like to help.
Through Asandé we want to create an alternative future for the DRC by empowering its women to overcome some of their biggest challenges and contribute to a brighter future for the nation as a whole.
Alphonsine grew up in the height of the ongoing violence that plagued eastern DRC & Rwanda since the 1990’s. In the middle of the night, an armed militia raided her village, killed her parents, and kidnapped her. She was taken to an isolated forest with the other stolen girls from her village and raped repeatedly.
Alphonsine was kept captive for months amidst the ongoing conflict, and soon realized she was pregnant. She received no prenatal care, and was stabbed repeatedly while in active labor and hoping to find her way to a hospital. Due to her injuries and a lack of medical attention, the baby did not survive, and Alphonise’s wounds became infected. She now suffered from an obstetric fistula in addition to her stab wounds.
One week after her delivery, her captors finally realized the extent of her injuries and brought her to a rural health center. It was there that doctors made the decision to contact Dr. Mukwege who personally arranged for her transfer to Panzi Hospital.
Alphonsine was brought immediately to the operating room upon arrival, where Dr. Mukwege and his staff worked fervently to repair her fistula and wounds. She was then brought to the “Hope Room”— the ward where survivors are brought to recover and continue on their healing journey.
Due to the extent of her injuries, Alphonsine had to endure over fourteen surgeries, and became very close to Dr. Mukwege as he consulted on her case. Overtime, Alphonsine began to regain her physical strength, and Dr. Mukwege asked her how he could further support her on her path to recovery. Yearning to rebuild her life, Alphonsine decided she wanted to go to school with several other survivors with the goal of someday becoming a nurse at Panzi.
In 2020, Alphonsine’s dream became a reality, and she graduated with her degree in nursing sciences. Today, she proudly works in the same ward where she was once a patient, providing compassionate care to her sister-survivors.*
*Image and story taken from PanziFoundation.org. Please visit for more information.