Category Page: ABFEK

Investing in Congo: Sowing Seeds for Women Launching Small Businesses

With your support, Action Kivu is sowing seeds in Congo: literal seeds in our Organic Food for All Program, virtual seeds of education through our Literacy Program for women and Education Assistance for children, seed money for small businesses run by women.  And we are already seeing the harvest of lives transformed: women sharing stories of how they can support their families through their new sewing skills, feeding their families with vegetables grown on the farm, and starting small businesses with investments from people like you, our partners!

The mother of five children, Namuto was abandoned by her abusive husband, and left to care for the kids on her own.  Having heard about the vocational training programs at the Mumosho Women’s Center, she arrived, hoping to join the Sewing Workshop, to learn a trade to earn income to support her family. Upon learning that the training took 8 months, Namuto instead joined our partner ABFEK’s Micro Finance Program, learning financial literacy and starting a small business selling smaller food items at the market: groundnut flour used  to season food, cooking oil, and palm oil. After paying back her loan, she recently joined the Small Business Seed Project sponsored by long-time Action Kivu / ABFEK supporters from Rhode Island and California.

With $100 of seed money, Namuto purchased more small goods to sell, and works hard every day to ensure her children are fed daily and can go to school. Her third son is pictured helping her grind the groundnut to ensure they do not lose any customers that day.

A donation to Action Kivu is an investment in the future of Congo, supporting our vocational, educational, and community building projects and helping a woman like Namuto start a small business so she can feed, clothe, and send her kids to school, transforming not only her life, but the future leaders of Congo!

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When I Grow Up: Donate to Gift Shoes & Clothes for Kids in Congo

‘ThanksEvery year, Action Kivu raises money to create a Christmas & New Year’s celebration for the kids we serve in Congo.  Once a year, kids who have next to nothing, who often have lost parents due to the poverty and disease and violence resulting from the long-term conflict in their country, are invited to a celebration.  At the party, over 300 children are fed a meal, and receive gifts of shoes and a set of clothes, sometimes the only ones they’ll get for the year.  They are so happy, our partner Amani tells us, and we see it in their faces.

2 boys pose for camera

Donate today, and mark “New Years” or “Christmas” in the note to seller section on PayPal$10 goes a long way: A simple gift of shoes, clothes, and a meal tells these kids that their lives matter, that their stories are heard, that people around the world are cheering for them!

girl waves with big smile new sandals

group of kids goof off

Not all are so goofy posing for the camera.  Rehema’s face shows her determination to make her dreams a reality, and is taking her gifts of shoes, clothes, and an education very seriously. A little girl from a family of eight children, her parents could not afford to send her to school.  Enrolled in classes now, thanks to ABFEK (Action Kivu’s partner in Congo), Rehema plans to graduate school and use her education to help other kids like herself, working for ABFEK!

Rehema

Donate today!  Thank you!

 

Women Who Weave: A Bigger Market for Handmade Baskets When Congo Bans Plastic Bags

 

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The girls and women step inside the Mumosho Women’s Center, take off their flip-flops, set their kids down on the floor to play, and gather up handfuls of colorful bright rope.  They watch and follow along to the basket-making teacher’s advice, weaving the rope into gorgeous baskets to sell at the local market and in their villages.  For half a year, a class of women come together three days a week to learn the art of basket-making and marketing, so that, like graduate Chantal (pictured below), they can sell their art, and earn income to feed their families and send their kids to school.  Depending on the size of the basket, they sell from $3 to $8 dollars a piece.

basket making collage

Many people agree, plastic bags are the bane of our modern existence.  While convenient, they are not only unappealing when they escape to get caught in trees or stuck in gutters, but they are terrible for the environment: According to a 2014 report from the Earth Policy Institute, “worldwide, a trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute. Usage varies widely among countries, from over 400 a year for many East Europeans, to just four a year for people in Denmark and Finland. Plastic bags, made of depletable natural gas or petroleum resources, are often used only for a matter of minutes. Yet they last in the environment for hundreds of years, shredding into ever-smaller pieces but never fully breaking down.”

The government in Congo banned the use of plastic bags, and when that law takes effect, it will mean even more need for and better sales of these beautiful baskets!

Chantal, a basket making graduate, successfully sells her work to help support her family.

Chantal, a graduate of our basket making training program, successfully sells her work to help support her family.

Read more about our work on our blog, and consider a monthly donation to partner with the women in our vocational training programs in Congo, from basket-making to sewing to literacy classes, your dollars make a difference, giving hope and empowering the girls and women with the means to change their lives.

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Back to School: Lessons in Changing the Future of Congo

It’s hard to tell who is more excited about the first day of school this year: the kids or Papa Amani, as the students in Congo call our partner in Congo.  Amani lights up when he talks about sending children to school, giving them hope for a better future and the means to pursue their goals and dreams.  He knows that educating children, and specifically sending girls to school, often denied education simply because of their gender, is one of the best ways to break the cycle of extreme poverty furthered by decades of war in this corner of Congo.  Thanks to a generous grant from Jewish World Watch, many of the children we serve in eastern Congo, kids who are orphans or whose families are unable to afford school fees and supplies, are back in the classroom this week!

Amani often echoes Nelson Mandela’s words: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

We’re thrilled to post our own Back to School photos.  Meet Cibalonza, who is six years old and so excited to begin her education, entering grade 1 in elementary school this year.  She’s surrounded by the school kits each child receives: a school bag, a uniform (many sewn by the students and graduates of Action Kivu’s Sewing Workshop), copy books, a pencil, two pens, a mathematical box, and a ruler.

school girl with uniforms and notebooks

We’re happy to share an update on Ntaboba. When he was six years old, Ntaboba, whose name means “no fear,” stepped on a live grenade in the jungle near his home in eastern Congo, mangling and twisting his leg, forcing him to walk with a metal pole for support, which further twisted his spine. Because of the injury, he often missed classes and fell behind in his education when he could not navigate the five kilometers to his school.

Margaret Johnson and Betty Merner, two Americans visiting Congo with their friend Dr. Victoria Bentley of Empower Congo Women, met Ntaboba in Mumosho. They quickly connected to Ntaboba’s soft spirit and strong character, and were determined to do what they could to help him. Thanks to the emotional and financial support of these women and school kids they work with in Rhode Island, in 2012, Ntaboba received a surgery on his leg from Heal Africa in Goma, a hospital renowned as one of only three referral hospitals in the DR Congo. He continues to walk freely with “no fear,” stepping into grade 2 in secondary school.

Ntaboba and Amani

Amani gives Ntaboba his school kit.

Read more about our programs, and how your partnership and donations support life-changing work in Congo, here!

Meet Mamy in a video from our Sewing Graduation Day, 2015
Meet Cikwanine, Nadine, & Chanceline – three teen moms who are back in school!
Meet Claudine, and read her story of coming “back to life”
Meet Grandma Mwayuma and see some of the children at play
Meet Amani through the Enough Project’s “I Am Congo” video series
Meet the goats in our animal husbandry program, Your Goat is My Goat

Kids Play in Congo: Pictures Worth Thousands of Words

A picture is worth a thousand words:

kids on pg hero 8.2015

Meet some of the kids in Mumosho, DRC, who take a break from their play to clown for the camera at the playground built through our partner’s work.  How can we state in just a few words what it means for these children to have a safe space to just be kids, without worry for their safety (besides a scraped knee), playing with abandon?

We are grateful for the grant from our partners in Sweden from Direktionen för Nytta och Nöje in Strömstad that created this playground in Mumosho, DRC, who connected with our work through Gunilla Hamne of Peaceful Heart Network.

And grandma Mwayuma is grateful as well, to have a safe place to drop off her grandchildren while she goes to the Peace Market!

Mwayuma happy to drop grandkids off at pg 8.2015

If you want to partner with Action Kivu to create more safe spaces of play, education, and community in eastern Congo, read more about our work here on the blog, and click here to donate!