IMA World Health/Christopher Glass

IMA World Health is mourning the loss of Lyn Lusi, Co-founder of Heal Africa and IMA’s former Chief of Party for the USAID-funded USHNIDI program in Eastern Congo.

Lyn’s life and passion brought solace, hope and significant change in the lives of survivors of violence and rape in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Her mix of administrative, program and people skills made her a unique person who could get things done in some of the most difficult times.

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Lyn Lusi answers questions from the crowd while taking part in a panel discussion about Gender Based Violence during a trip to Washington D.C. in 2011.

She came to the Congo (formerly Zaire) from England in 1971 as a teacher with the Baptist Missionary Society. In 1974, she fell in love and married a Congolese physician, Dr. Kasereka M. “Jo” Lusi. They founded together with American friends an organization which trained young doctors in Congo and worked in it for the next 19 years. After earning her master’s degree in Human Resource Development and Training, Lyn and Dr. Jo founded HEAL Africa.

In 2010, Lyn became the Chief of Party for the USHINDI program. USHINDI, meaning “victory” in Kiswahili, is a USAID-funded program that IMA World Health and partners are implementing for survivors of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Despite winning the prestigious Opus Prize, Lyn remained her humble self. She continued to support USHINDI into 2012 despite her ill health.

“Lyn’s energy and love for the people of DR Congo will be greatly missed,” said Rick Santos, President and CEO of IMA World Health.

“She was a strong, wonderful woman who improved the lives of so many people and inspired us all.”

Lyn Lusi was 62 years old. She passed away on March 17, 2012 from terminal cancer. She leaves behind her loving husband Jo, son Paluku and his wife and son, daughter Nadine, her sisters and thousands of friends and colleagues who loved her. She will find her resting place and last home in Butembo, North Kivu in DR Congo where the Lusi family is from.

Dick Durbin, U. S. Senator for Illinois, recently addressed his colleagues about meeting Lyn during several trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Click here for the full transcript.

www.healafrica.org contributed to this article.